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The Kiat
March 4th, 2010, 09:52 PM
This thread will consist only of the chapters of An Alternate History of the Netherlands. Do not post any comments or anything here; instead, visit the other thread.



Prologue
Today, the Dutch Commonwealth of Nations is the world’s Superpower. None can challenge it in the marketplace, nor on the highseas. Its currency is universally accepted and its language is the de facto common language of the business world and is the largest second-language and the second largest first-language. The United Provinces are home to the world’s largest, and oldest, stock market along with the world’s most powerful banks. Amsterdam itself rose from the marshes of Holland to grow into the financial capital of Earth.
The Dutch Empire was one built on commerce and trade. Throughout the centuries, the cities of the United Provinces were centers of trade. The story of how several squabbling and independent provinces forged a world empire is a complex history. It is also one of the most unlikely tales in human history. The United Provinces battled the mightiest power of its day for independence, fought off repeated and destructive invasions by an expansionist neighbor, and defeated a naval rival and upstart to pave its way to supremecy.
Empires have risen and fell, but the Dutch Commonwealth persevered. France, Spain, United Kingdom and even Germany have lost colonies to revolution. The Dutch lost its colonies to evolution. Eventually treated as equals, Dutch colonies became full fledged members of the Commonwealth, contribiting everything from sugar to gold to the common good of all Dutch speaking nations.
However, before there could be a Commonwealth, or even a United Provinces, there were the beginnings of the Dutch nation. Its history is filled with conflicts and rivalries from within, beginning all the way back in the Upper Paleolithic.



I) Beginnings
(50,000 B.C.E.- 1568 CE)
Neanderthals
Before the Commonwealth, before the United Provinces, before the Batavians and even before the North Sea, there were the Neanderthals. Homo neanderthalanis were a species of human native to Europe. Their short stature, robust figure and even large, bulbous noses were all adapted with one purpose in mind; to survive the cold. The first Netherlanders did not have to face mighty empires or invading barbarians, but rather the advance and retreat of polar icecaps, and competition from a fiercer kind, including the like of European Lions and Dire Wolves.
Along side the Neanderthals, living upon the tundral-steppes of Central Europe, were some of the biggest game to ever cross man’s path. Though many today like to think of their ancestors as hunters, anthropological evidence suggests that humans throughout the stone ages were more akin to bear or hyenas. Man, the Opportunistic Scavenger just lacks the drama of Man, the Hunter. What evidence of hunting that remains, mostly speartips, were found buried in the ribs of medium sized animals, such as deer, aurochs and horses.
True, in the harsh environment living off the glaciers, Neanderthals had little in the way of diet aside from meat (more than 80% of their diet is believed to be meat) though some roots would be available. Neanderthals were present in what would eventually become the low countries some fifty thousand years ago. The oldest artifacts dated back to the Hoogeveen interstadial of the Saalian glaciation.

Sapiens
Neanderthals found themselves no longer alone, some forty thousands years ago. Another species of human, Homo sapiens invaded Europe, most likely during a change in climate that permitted travel across the previous unpassable deserts of the Middle East. Following game, our species would have found a continent wide game park available to suit their needs. Everything ranging from rabbits to the rare, but occasional big game item, was on the menu. Our species arrival represents the first case of colonialism the Netherlands would see. Many more, internal and external would follow. It was not contact between two different cultures, such as when the Dutch made contact with the Ceylonese, Formosans or Javanese, but something beyond our modern experience. This first contact between two different species has no parallel in recorded history.
One might wish to project the contact between two species as an opening of trade and exchange of ideas. Various writers of the Twentieth Century tended to paint a positive picture in interspecies relations. First contact with an alien culture opened a new world to explore, and more often than not, the contact was peaceful. Such could not be said about the contact between Neanderthal and Sapiens. No doubt some trade did take place, as was seen to post-contact burials of Neanderthals. Jewelry recovered with bones indicates trade between the two species. The fact that Neanderthal man’s tool kit expanded was another piece of evidence supporting trade of ideas.
However, it was not to last. Both species ate mostly the same food and sought the same caves for shelter. As with many species, the two were forced to compete over a finite amount of resources. Both would throw their best into the contest, and such as with nature, only the most suited would survive. Whether this is brute strength or cunning, is irrelevant. What matters is that for one species to rise, the other must fade. In the end, nomadic Sapiens forces the more sedentary Neanderthals into more and more marginal lands, and eventually into oblivion.
Though the end might not have been a violent one, the possible discovery of a hybrid human in southern France might be proof of that, it was final. Sapiens, with higher quality tools, more elaborate language and probably a far superior imagination, drove the Neanderthals into extinction by simply out-competing them. Was their conflict between the two? Possibly. After all, lions do go out of their way, not just to steal from their competition, but to simply kill them. With their competition dead, the remaining species would win by default. It would be a tragedy, however, if one of the first species exterminated by our kind happened to be our closest relatives.

Life for Stone Age Netherlanders
Life was not much easier for Sapiens on the tundral-steppes as it was for their Neanderthal predecessors. They hunted the same prey, gathered the same meager supply of plants. To a casual observer, not much changed from one species to the next. The remaining species produced art that the previous occupants could never envision. Where there was once simple murals of the hunt, now were found carvings made from bone, ivory and even stone.
Around twenty thousand years ago, the early Netherlanders’ world came to an end. Over the course of centuries, ice caps burying Northern Europe and half of North America dwindle and vanished. The melting of so much glaciated land poured tens of meters of depth to the world’s oceans. The lands that hunter-gathers once roamed where firmly fixed at the bottom of the North Sea. The thawing of the ice age was an environmental catastrophe of unprecedented scale. Not only did habitat change, in many cases it simply vanished.
The first and most obvious change was that of biome. With the melting of the glaciers, the tundral-steppe quickly migrated north, along with the game that depended upon the tundra’s botany. The plants moving was not disastrous in of itself, but rather their destination spelled doom for many species. For thousands of years, many plants found today on the tundra thrived at lower latitudes, and in longer growing seasons. The land was as cold as a tundra, but the seasons lasted as long as the steppe’s. Shorter growing seasons meant lower yield, which meant nature favored the small. There is only so much shrinking a mammoth can do, and its limit was reached.
In the end, it was climate change that doomed the megafauna of the ice age. Unlike so many legends built around Man the Hunter, humans did not wipe out the largest of game (though the occasion hunt certainly did not help them either). In the place of tundra grew forests of pine and flowering tree. Following the plants north were medium-sized animal, such as the white tail deer and the wild boar. Though the early Netherlanders lost some of their food sources, new ones quickly migrated to fill the niches.
The biggest change of all came from the lands lost to sea. For the first time in their history, the Netherlanders had the sea on which to rely. Even at this earliest of age, the peoples of what would one day become Holland, Zeeland and Flanders took to the sea. They had little choice in the matter, given the constantly changing coast line of the Prehistoric Netherlands. Fish became a staple diet, as did many seafaring arthropods. Those, coupled with migrating fruit and nut trees gave the locals a steady diet. Prehistoric peoples were now able to live a semi-nomadic existence. To stay for an extended period of time, the first shelters were built; little more than temporary wooden shelters.
One of the more curious developments, near the beginning of the Neolithic came in the form of grapes. Not just any grapes. The locals went to some trouble to ferment the grapes, and to store them in animal bladders. Before man made bread, he made wine. Wild grains were also harvested, but not yet domesticated. Also, by this time, early forms of pastoralism sprang up. Across Europe, dogs, horses and even the aggressive aurochs were brought into domestication. The latter would be better known today as simple cattle.
With stable food sources, society itself began to evolve. Gone were the small troops of humans wondering across the landscape in search of the next meal. In their place, complex tribal societies grew. One such tribe lived in near Bergumermeer, in Friesland, around ten thousand years ago. Though their name is lost, their contribution is not. This tribe built some of the first canoes, and sailed the coast and rivers, trading with their neighbors. From the day of the first canoe, the destiny of both the Netherlands and the sea were forever intertwined.

Agriculture
Agriculture arrived in the Netherlands around 5,000 B.C.E.. The Linear Pottery culture migrated onto the loess plateaus in the southern reaches of modern Limburg. They did not spread further north due to lack of domesticated animals and proper tools. In the north, tribes still used bone harpoons and stone hand axes. Thus their knowledge did not spread any further than southern Limburg.
The Linear Pottery culture derives its name from the decorative technique of its pottery. They originated in Central Europe, Hungary and Serbia to be exact. The Linear people settled along fluvial terraces in the proximity of rivers. They were quick to identify the most fertile regions of loess. On their lands, they raised distinctive assemblies of crops and some associated weeds on small lots, an economy that Gimbutas called ‘garden type of civilization’.
To the earlier peoples of the Netherlands, it was a variable garden indeed. The newcomers brought with them; wheat, pea, barley, millet, rye and beans, along with hemp and flax. With hemp and flax, the Linear people possessed the raw material to manufacture rope and cloth. They also brought with them poppies, introduced from the Mediterranean, possibly used to manufacture a primitive palliative medicine.
As far as livestock was concerned, the Linear people favored cattle. However, both goats and hogs have also been recorded. As with most peoples, canines were their constant companion, both as hunting dogs, and to guard their herds. In remains of Linear Pottery villages, wild faunal remains were uncovered. The Linear people supplemented their diets with deer, elk and boar in the forests that then spread across Europe. The populations remained sedentary as long as they did not exceed the land’s ability to provide.
The Swifterbant Culture represented some of the last hunter-gathers in the Netherlands. The culture dates between 5,300 B.C.E. to 3,400 B.C.E. They are related to the Ertebolle Culture of Scandinavia. Thus, these people have strong ties to open water and the rivers. Remains of their camps were found in bogs and water dunes along post-glacial rives. Their transition from hunters to herders around 4,800 B.C.E. when they took up the practice of cattle farming. Some pottery arose from their culture, predating Linear Pottery.
Near the end of the Swifterbant Culture and following came the Funnelbeaker Culture, the principle megalithic culture in late Stone Age Europe. Their houses measured twelve meters by six meters, home to one family. Their society was dominated by animal husbandry of sheep, cattle, pigs and goats. Their farming practices quickly depleted the land, due to which the population was forced to move to new areas to plant their wheat and barley.
Industry advanced with the introduction of mining. Flint mined by the Funnelbeaker people, which was traded to areas lacking stone, such as Scandinavian hinterlands. In return, they imported copper tools from the south. The copper was not raw, but already forged into tools. The Funnelbeaker people favored copper daggers and axes. The culture itself was named after the characteristics of its ceramics and beakers, with funnel-shaped tops. One such find depicted the oldest known example of a wheeled vehicle; a two-axle, four-wheeled wagon).

The Bronze Age
The Bronze Age likely started somewhere around 2,000 B.C.E. The oldest bronze tools in the Netherlands were uncovered at ‘The Smith of Wageningen”. After these findings, more appeared, such as Epe and Drouwen. Rare findings, such as a necklace with tin beads in Drenthe, suggests that Drenthe was a center of trade during the Age of Bronze. The absence of copper in the low countries meant bronze was exceedingly rare and extremely valued.
Stores of many broken bronze objects is testimony to the alloy’s value. These shards and scraps were intended for recycling. The bronze would be melted down, or simply pounded into new shapes. The Environmental Movement came three thousand years too early in the low countries. The use of bronze only lasted approximately twelve hundred years. Examples of bronze wares include knives, swords, axes and event bracelets. Much of the bronze was found near the trading center. One finding shows the merchants traveled far; one such bronze situalaewas manufactured as far away as what is now Switzerland.

The Iron Age
Dawning of the Iron Age brought much fortune to the Netherlands. The low countries were rich in the metal. Iron ore was found in the north as well as central regions, in the form of ‘ball’ iron. This was little more than natural balls with iron in them, such as near the Veluwe. The south also had its share of iron. Red iron ore was found in the rivers in Brabant. With such an abundance of iron, smiths could travel from village to village, fabricating tools on demand, such as axes, knives, pins, arrowheads, swords, and so on.
The wealth of the Netherlands during the Iron Age is illustrated at the King’s Grave in Oss (dating to around 500 B.C.E.). The tomb of an early king was uncovered with many objects, including an iron sword with inlay of gold and even coral. It was the largest grave in Western Europe at the time, measuring some fifty-two meters wide. Such extravagance was likely the exception as opposed to the rule, but nonetheless, it displays the area was far from destitute.
With the Iron Age came new peoples. In the south, an influx of Celtic tribes settled. Among these tribes were the Eburones and the Menapii. These were predecessors to the Gauls that Rome would soon have much trouble with. Along with Celts, came Germanic peoples from the east. The Tubanti, Canninefates and the Frisians. Even today, the descendants of the Frisians play an important role in the United Provinces.
The origins of the Frisians are obscure, and even vague. Archeologists theorize their origins dating back to the Elp Culture, 1,800-800 B.C.E. Friesland was settled early, possibly as early as 700 B.C.E. Frisii were first mentioned by Roman historian Tacitus. He wrote a treatise about the Frisii in the year 69 CE. describing their habits and lifestyle, as well as listing other Germanic tribes. The word Frisii was used to describe all the ethnic group as a whole.
Frisians were likely a seafaring people. After all, they lived along the edge of the North Sea, with markets spanning from Britannia to Jutland. The Romans even went as far as to refer to the sea as Mare Frisia for a time. Frisian settlements were discovered outside of the Netherlands, in England, Scotland and Denmark. Their lands also extended up the Rhine River as far as the Ems. These southern lands were conquered by the Roman general Drusus in 12 B.C.E. after several uprisings.
The rest of Frisia was able to stay out from beneath the Roman heel. In the year 28, they signed a treaty with the Romans along the Rhine. The peace lasted sixteen years. At which time, taxes became repressive, effecting the quality of living of all Frisians. Like so many peoples and revolutions to follow, the loss of income strove the people to action. They started by hanging tax collectors. An army of Frisians managed to defeat a Roman army under the command of Tiberius at the Battle of Baduhennawood.

Roman Era
The Frisians managed to stay mostly free of Roman influence, but the rest could not be said about the lands south of the Rhine. Julius Caesar lead an army against the Gauls, and after a lengthy campaign, managed to subjugate them and expand Rome’s border all the way to the Rhine River. Roman parts of the Netherlands were known as Germania Inferior and Gallia Belgica.
The invasions happened started in 57 B.C.E. when Caesar led his army into Gallia Belgica with the explicit goal of conquering the Celtic tribes of the region. Modern accounts hold that eighteen tribes existed in this region. Except for the southern Remi, all the tribes were allied against Rome. The Celtic army is believed to number in excess of a quarter of a million men, led by the Suession king, Galba.
Due to the Belgic’s reputation as fierce warriors with uncommon bravery, Caesar avoided meeting their combined forces in battle. Instead, he relied upon cavalry to skirmish with smaller contingents of tribesmen. Only when one of the tribes was isolated did the Romans engage and destroy them in battle. The coalition of tribes disintegrated rapidly in face of these tactics. Caesar claimed to offer lenient terms for their surrender, including protection from other tribes. Most tribes agreed to the conditions.
In 52 B.C.E. and uprising of Belgic tribes, lead by the Bellovaci began following the defeat of Vercingetorix. In this round of warfare, it was the Belgics who avoided direct contact. Instead, they preferred to harass the Romans, still lead by Caesar, with cavalry and archers. The uprising abruptly ended when the Bellovaci failed to ambush the Romans. The outcome of this failure was quite common in antiquity; the rebels were killed to the last man.
Germania Inferior also fell under Caesar’s boot at the same time as Belgica. In the course of three years, the Romans subjugated several tribes, including the Eburones and the Menapii. Pacification of the future province proceeded with less complication than Belgica, and Romans began to settle the region as early as 50 B.C.E. At first, the two provinces were one. Germania Inferior was not established as a Roman province until the year 90, later becoming an Imperial province.
Both provinces were also part of Gaul during the early Roman years. Following a census in 27 B.C.E., Emperor Augustus ordered a restructuring of Gaul. In 22 B.C.E. Gallia Comata was split into three regions; Gallia Aquitania, Gallia Lugdunensis and Gallia Belgica. The division was made by Marcus Agrippa on what was then believed to be distinctions in language. Gallia Belgica was intended to mix German and Celtic peoples. A balance was struck between Romanization and permitting pre-existing culture to endure. Local governments were also permitted to continue. Additionally, local lords were required to attend festival in Lugdunum, which mostly celebrated the current Emperor’s genius, whether it was real or not. Though Roman colonization did not extend into the land of the Frisians, the Frisii were heavily influenced by Roman culture. The most important of Roman devices was that of written language. Some of the future United Provinces’ vital cities were founded by the Romans. Rome built the first fortresses and cities in the Netherlands. The most important are the modern cities of Maastricht, Nijmegen and Utrecht.
Utrecht started its existence as a fortress, established in the year 47. The fort was designed to house a cohort of five hundred soldiers. Settlements sprang up around the fort, housing a growing number of artisans, traders, and families of the soldiers. The origin of Utrecht’s name came from a merger of two previous names. The fortress itself was simply called Traiectum, denoting its location on the Rhine. The distinguish itself from other close sounding names, the prefix Ultra was added. Over the centuries, the name was corrupted into Utrecht.

The Batavians
According to nationalistic mythology, the Batavi were the forefathers of the Netherlands, though they themselves were a sub-tribe of the Chatti. The lands they settled, though owning potentially fertile alluvial deposits, was largely uncultivable, consisting of mainly the swampy Rhine delta. Thus, the land could not support a very large population, no more than thirty-five thousand. They also carried with them a warrior’s tradition, with highly skilled horsemen. Batavi auxiliary amounted to five thousand men, more than half the male population over the age of sixteen. Though they were only 0.05% of the total Imperial population, they supplied 4% of the total auxilia. Rome also regarded them as the best of their auxiliaries. Batavi had a wide range of skills, including the ability to swim while wearing full armor.
Relations between Rome and the Batavians was generally quite good. Rome managed to influence the Batavian’s culture. Old temples were torn down and Roman-style buildings erected on the sight. These temples were Roman only in build, the Batavi still worshiped their local gods. Roman presence in the Netherlands brought a great deal of stability, allowing a flourishing of trade. The largest export was that of salt extracted from the North Sea, remains of which were discovered in sites across the empire.
Trade and tolerance were not enough to prevent the Batavians from rising up, rather successfully against Roman rule. The Batavian Revolt has its roots in the year 66, when the Batavi regiments were withdrawn from Britannia and moved into Italy. The Batavian Prince Julius Civilis, along with his brother, were arrested under the suspicion of treason. The brother was immediately executed, but because Civilis was a citizen, he was sent to Rome, to stand judgement before the Roman Emperor, Nero. While in prison, Nero was deposed and replaced by the Governor of Hispania, who acquitted Civilis, and permitted him to return home.
Upon returning to Germania Inferior, he was arrested a second time by the Governor, Vitellius. Local legions demanded he be executed. He was released again, when civil war wracked the Empire. Vitellius was in dire need of support from the Batavi military. He quickly squandered any good will he might have gathered from the Batavians. He conscripted more Batavi, more than their treaty permitted. Brutal treatment of the conscripts, along with taking other Batavi as slaves, caused the situation in Germania Inferior to reach a boiling point.
With most of the legions in Italy, fighting in a brutal civil war, the Roman frontier was taken by surprise. Several tribes joined the Batavi, such as the Cananefates and even the Frisii. The Cananefates, under the command of their chief Brinno, captured Utrecht. In response, Rome sent what few auxiliaries they could spare. The result was disastrous, with Civilis leading the rebels to victory near modern-day Arnhem.
Unable to permit such resistance to its dominion, Rome sent in two legions to crush the rebellion, accompanied by three auxiliaries, including the Batavi cavalry. Upon meeting in battle near Nijmegen, the Batavi cavalry immediately deserted the Romans, weakening an already demoralized army. The battle came down to willpower, and the Romans lacked it and were forced to retreat. With this defeat, the Batavians obtained a de facto independence, and clearly held the upper hand. Even Vespasian, who was fighting to take the Imperial throne, saluted the rebellion, since it kept his rivals from calling units back to Rome. He even went as far as to promise the Batavians independence. Civilis was fast on his way to reigning as king.
This did not satisfy Civilis. Instead, he was driven by revenge, and swore to destroy both legions. In September of 69, the Batavi lay siege to the Roman camp at Castra Vetera, encircling some five thousand legionaries. The camp was well stocked, and fortified walls of brick and wood, along with a double ditch. Civilis launched several attacks against the camp, each one turned back. After realizing an assault would not work, he decided to simply starve them out. After several month, the Roman commander decided to surrender.
The legions were promised safe passage by the Batavi, provided they left the camp to be sacked by the rebels. All weapons, material and, most importantly, gold, was left for plunder. Both legions marched south, but moved no more than a few kilometers before falling into an ambush by other Germanic tribes. Both 5th and 15th legions were destroyed in the ensuing slaughter. Such an act could not be tolerated without a heavy handed response.
The only event preventing Rome from slamming its fist on the Batavians’ collective heads was another rebellion, on the opposite side of the Empire, in a city called Jerusalem. Civilis had hopes the Jewish rebels would hold out, and help drain Roman resources. The Siege of Jerusalem started in April of the year 70, but much to Civilis’s disappointment, was brought to an end by September, essentially ending the Jewish Rebellion.
With them out of the way, Rome was now free to bring its full might against the Batavians. Civilis made the wisest decision possible; he made the best peace he could. The Batavi were forced to renew their alliance with Rome, and raise eight auxiliary cavalry units. The Batavian capital, Nijmegen, was put to the torch. Its inhabitants were forced to move to a defenseless position several kilometers down stream and build a new. To this day, the fate of Civilis remains unknown, however his people were spared, if subjugated.

Barbarians
By the start of the Fifth Century, Rome was unable to keep out the tide of migrating Germanic tribes; The Barbarians. Though the word barbarian is used by Romans to describe all foreigners or aliens, it is best known in schools of history as the Germanic people who cross into the Western Empire by the year 400. Along with Rome, the Barbarians also launched their assaults against local tribes of the Netherlands. The merging and absorption resulted in producing three tribes; the Frisians maintained their independence in the north; the Saxons took land in the east; and the Franks took the lands south of the Rhine. For the Netherlands, the Dark Ages came early.
The Franks
Dreams of a Batavian Kingdoms were destroyed when the Frankish people conquered Germania Inferior along with Gallia Belgica– not to mention most of the former land of Gaul. The forefathers of the Netherlands did not meet their end in battle, but were simply absorbed by the Franks. Instead of exterminating enemies (burning villages, enslaving women and children, etc.) the Frankish King Childeric elevated the conquered peoples to the same level as the Franks. In return, the tribes offered warriors, or just able bodied men, to the Frankish Army.
Infrastructure and trade brought by the Romans was utterly destroyed by the Frankish invasion, and ensuing epidemic warfare that would follow. To further complicate the problem, the Franks adhered to the practice of partible inheritance; Kings divided their Kingdom between their surviving sons. This in turn, brought in a whole new cycle of pillaging and conquest as the new kings vied for each other’s lands.
The Frisians managed to survive in spite of the Franks. When the Saxons and the Angles left the continent to invade Britannia, it left open large tracks of empty lands. Though some of the Frisians no doubt joined the invasion across the North Sea, a majority of them moved into the population vacuum left by the Saxons. Frisia Magna, by the Sixth Century, occupied the coast as far as the Wesser River.
Many other trans-Rhine tribes were loosely tied with the Frankish state. They enjoyed their limited freedom, but in exchange, they were force to contribute to the Frankish Army. During reigns of relatively weak kings, the tribes grew unruly, and uncontrollable. Each time, complete independence was too tempting to resist. During the reigns of strong kings, the tribes were brought into the Frank’s fold. The Thuringii fell in 532, the Burgundes in 534, and finally the Frisians were brought into the fold around the year 560.
Francia was far from a united state. Fraternal kings often showed signs of friendship, when they were not bitter rivals. Following the death of King Choldomer, his brother Chlothar had the King’s younger sons killed, so he could take a share of the kingdom. Warfare in the Frankish heartland was endemic, and at times, never ending. The Netherlands, laying in the periphery, avoided some of the most bitter fighting.
During the Merovingian Dynasty, the Franks founded their own share of cities in the Netherlands. The most important was a place they called Anda Werpum. The name translates into ‘at the wharf’, referring to its proximity to the Rhine delta. Closeness to the North Sea destined the town to become a vital trading port. Over the centuries, this destiny was fulfilled, and over those same centuries, the name grew corrupt, until it became known simply as Antwerp.

Frisia
The Frisians maintained on-off relations with the Franks. Not long after one conquest, the Frisians regained their freedom. During one of Francia’s many eras of confusion, King Pepin attempted to re-assert Frankish dominion over Frisia, but with little success during the 670s and 680s. In 689, Pepin launched a very successful invasion of western Frisia. The Frisian king, Radbod, lost to the Franks outside of Dorestad. The following year, Pepin managed to conquer the city of Utrecht. In 695, Pepin sponsored the formation of the Archdiocese of Utrecht, bringing the church to Frisians under his rule. Eastern Frisia, however, resisted and retained its independence for decades to come.
In 714, the illegitimate son of Pepin, Charles ‘The Hammer’ Martel, launched his own invasion of Frisia. The Frisians managed to battle the Frankish leader to a standstill, and forced him to withdraw, for the time being. Francia had its own share of problems beyond eastern Frisia. In the south, an army of Arab roared out of Iberia with the intent of bringing Islam to the Franks. Charles Martel met the Arab army between Poitiers and Tours. In this watershed battle, Martel lead the Frankish army to victory, turning the Arabs back, and forever halting their northward advance at the Pyrenees.
In 734, Martel turned his attention back to Frisia, with a vengeance. His army crushed the Frisians, and he brought the entire Frisian Empire under Frankish suzerainty. With the loss of their independence, came the loss of their ancient gods. Martel brought bishops and missionaries to conquered Frisia, which would enforce Christianity in the Netherlands. The Franks were intent on saving the Frisians, even if they had to kill them.

Carolingian Dynasty
In the year 800, the Pope crowned a new Roman Emperor, Charles the Great. Charlemagne’s reign was a blessing to the recently conquered Frisians. During his reign, he freed the Frisians from swearing fealty to foreign overlords. The exact meaning behind his declaration is not clear. Charlemagne meant foreign from his perspective, i.e. non-Franks. The Frisians no doubt disputed the rule, but were in no shape to rise up against the new Roman Emperor.
With the death of Charlemagne, the Frankish Empire was again divided between surviving sons. The bulk of the Netherlands fell into the new Middle Frankish Kingdom. Middle Francia did not last long. By 884, Charles the Fat managed to reunited the Franks, yet again. When the King died, and his realm split again, the Netherlands were partitioned between the Kingdoms of France and Germany. Flanders ended up under French control, and the rest was ruled by the Germans.

The Vikings
By the ninth century, a cold wind blew down north across the sea. By the death of Charlemagne, the Vikings made their first raids along the Frisian coast. The low countries suffered considerably. While France and Germany were fighting for supremacy in Middle Francia during the, the Vikings moved in and plundered the Netherlands. Monasteries were looted, villages burned, thousands of Netherlands slaughtered.
Between the years 840 and 880, the northern Netherlands were ruled by a Viking named Rorik. He ruled his own private empire from Dorestad. Towns only survived through tribute, paying off these Dark Age thugs. There have been some comparison between the Vikings and modern-day Mafioso. The comparison is not a fair one, for mobsters do not depopulate any business who refuses to pay their ‘insurance’. Vikings, however, were known to make a habit of killing everyone who resisted.
The Vikings were finally driven from the Netherlands by ‘the People’s King’. Elected by an assembly of French and German nobles, Henry of Germany ascended the throne of Germany in 919. He was the founder of the Ottonian Dynasty of German kings and emperors. He refused to be anointed by a high church official, wishing to be king, not by the church, but by the people’s acclaim. He ended Viking supremacy in the Netherlands in 920, when he ‘liberated’ the city of Utrecht.

Life during the Dark Ages
Life for the average Netherlander during the Dark Ages, was hard, miserable and short. If death did not come from constant warfare, it came from either disease or famine. With the Fall of Rome, trade dwindled through most of the Netherlands, and sanitation became nonexistent. Entire families hobbled together in small huts. Close quarters, unsanitary conditions and uncertain food supply made the time between Rome and Holy Rome a time of the lowest quality of life experienced in Europe. Even during the stone age, Netherlanders lived healthier and happier.
The typical Netherlander was considered old once they reached thirty, and few lived that long. Rome’s medical technology vanished with the receding of Rome’s tide. The only help for the sick came from Shaman and later the Church. Herbal remedies at the time met with limited success. Lack of understanding about the body and illness itself compounded the problem. Sometimes, the sick were simply abandoned to their fate because it was explained as ‘divine will’. Diseases easily treated today, such as influenza, existed in the first millennia as an often fatal ailment.
Food supplies were always in desperate straights. With even the slightest change in local climate, entire crops could be wipe out. The biggest danger came in a familiar form; the grain, and bread it made, which Dark Age Europeans depended upon. Wheat was a particularly vulnerable crop. Heavy rainfall could bend or break the stalks. Most of their lives, the Netherlanders did not worry about heavy rains. Most crops were simply put to the torch when Barbarians, Knights or Vikings descending into the area. Food supplies continued to be vulnerable until the introduction of the potato, centuries later. Burning a tuber, still underground, proved impossible.
Raiding was the biggest fear. Invaders and even local bandits preyed upon peasants. With many of the strongest men serving in the Frankish army, the villagers found it difficult to defend themselves. Often, they were simply killed by the bandits, and everything not nailed down was looted, and the rest torched. In order to save themselves, many Netherlanders placed themselves into serfdom. In return for the protection of local overlords (who often were responsible for raiding neighbors), the peasants would work the lord’s land. The peasant only received a small lot of land for themselves to farm, while the largest fields would go into the overlord’s coffers, and feed the cities.
So desperate was their plight, that peasants traded their very freedom for safety. Once a serf, they could not move, marry, or even have an overnight guest without permission. Yes, they were safe from banditry, but famine and disease lived as their constant companion. Half of their children still died before the age of five, and life expectancy remained pitifully low. Education did not exist, and literacy remained almost exclusive to the clergy. It was not until Charlemagne, did any Frankish king desire to read or write. Centuries more would pass until the quality of life would rise to acceptable levels. With Henry I’s invasion, the Netherlands found themselves incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire. During the next era, life would gradually improve, and give birth to The Dutch.

The Holy Roman Empire
With the coming of Henry I, the Netherlands fell under the jurisdiction of the Holy Roman Empire. The name itself is a bit of a misnomer. It was not that holy, it was far from Rome, and it barely fell under the category of empire. Despite its name, the provinces of the Netherlands benefitted greatly from its rule. In the beginning of the second millennium, numerous agricultural developments spurred the Agricultural Revolution. These innovations resulted in an increase of productivity in the fields, especially food production.
The economy started to develop at a fast pace, and higher productivity allowed peasants to farms more land, or to become tradesmen, and start the Dutch on the road to mercantilism. Guilds were established and export markets developed as the production exceeded the local need. Also, the Holy Roman Empire was responsible for introducing currency to the region, making trading an easier affair that ever before. Existing towns grew, and new towns sprang up like weeds surrounding monasteries and castles, and a mercantile middle class started to develop within these urban areas. As the population grew, so did commerce.
Cities arose and flourished, particularly in Flanders and Brabant. As these cities prospered, they started buying certain privileges for themselves, including city rights, right to self-govern and the right to pass laws. Thus began the fiercely independent spirit of the provinces. In the future, trying to govern seventeen diverse provinces challenged the strongest willed of Statholders and Kings. With these new rights, the wealthiest of cities became quasi-independent states themselves. The two most import cities of the Holy Roman Empire era included Brugge and Antwerp.
The Empire was not able to maintain political unity. In addition to the growing independence of the towns, local rulers turned their own counties and duchies into their own private kingdoms, and felt little obligation to the Emperor. Much of the Netherlands fell under the rule of the Count of Holland, Duke of Gelre, Duke of Brabant and even the Bishop of Utrecht. In addition to private kingdoms, private wars were wages. Holland and Gelre themselves fought over Utrecht, whose Bishop was marginalized in the following centuries. Various feudal states locked themselves into a state of almost continuous warfare. The Holy Roman Empire saved the Dutch people from foreign invaders, and their growth allowed the provinces to turn on one and another.

Luxembourg
Though not as crucial as Holland, Brabant or even Zeeland, the Duchy of Luxembourg proved to be a crucial corner of the provinces. The history of the Duchy began with the construction of Luxembourg Castle during the Dark Ages. It was Siegfried I, Count of Ardennes, who traded some of his ancestral land in 963, for an ancient, a supposedly Roman, fortress by the name of Lucilinburhuc. Around this fort, gradually a town developed, which became the center of a small, yet strategically vital region between France and Germany.
Luxembourg remained an independent fief, a county, within the Holy Roman Empire until the year 1354, when Charles IV elevated it to the status of a Duchy. At the time, the Luxembourg family held the crown of Bohemia, but the Duchy was usually ran by a separate branch of the family. By 1437, the imperial Luxembourg line became extinct in the male line. At the time, the Duchy and castles were held by the Bohemian princess Elisabeth of Gorlitz. After Elisabeth’s death, the Duke of Burgundy inherited the realm, adding it to the rapidly growing Duchy of Burgundy.

Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was formally established in the year 1183, and the title of Duke created by the German Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, in favor of Henry of Brabant. Although the original county was quite small, and limited to the territory between the Dender and Zenne rivers, Brabant soon expanded to include all the lands beneath the rule of the Duke of Brabant. After the death of his father, Godfrey III, Henry added his inheritance of Lothier to his new realm.
After the Battle of Worringen in 1288, the Duke of Brabant acquired the Duchy of Limburg and Overmaas. In 1354, the Dukes of Brabant granted a charter of liberty to it citizens. Liberty was a relative term and rather limited by today’s standards, but was several steps above the fiefs of neighboring France. Brabant’s dukes waned in power, and by 1430, the Duchies of Limburg and Brabant were inherited by the Duke of Burgundy. Burgundy would soon play a key role in unifying the Netherlands.

Utrecht
The Archbishopric’s beginnings dated back to the establishment of the Diocese of Utrecht by Saint Willibrord in 695. With the consent of the Frankish King, the first consecrated Frisian bishop settled in the town of Utrecht. After the Saint’s death, the Diocese faced incursions by other Frisians, and later on Normans. Utrecht’s situation improved during the reign of Saxon Emperors, who often summoned the Bishops to attended Imperial Councils.
In the year 1024, the Bishops were made Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, and thus the Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht was born. It was not unique in these regards, as will later be explored with Liege, but the new state consisted of Utrecht, along with Groningen, Drenthe and Overijssel. In 1122, the Concordat of Worms annulled the Emperor’s right of investiture and gave the cathedral chapter the right to elect its own bishops. These elections were often interfered with by the Vatican, who decided it was their right to appoint bishops. After the middle 1300s, the Popes repeated appointed bishops without any regard for the city’s rights. In 1527, the Bishop sold his lands to Emperor Charles V, and the Prince-Bishopric was absorbed by the growing Habsburg Family.

Liege
Liege’s domain developed from numerous donations from sovereign princes, and acquisitions of its bishops. During the Tenth Century, Notger secured the feudal authority of the County of Huy to become a sovereign himself. Liege’s virtual independence from the Holy Roman Empire, and its location between France and Germany, offered it important roles in international policies. During Notgar’s administration, All Soul’s Day experienced wide spread observance. His most vital contribution was the development of education. The schools of Liege were, in fact, the brightest focal points of literacy at the time.
Tribunals were established during the reign of Henry of Verdun. These institutions sat judgement on infractions of the Peace of God. Both Peace of God, and Truce of God were Papal edicts designed to curve the violence wracking Medieval Europe. One edict banned warfare on holy days, while another placed large portions of the population off-limits. Starting with the clergy, this edict extended all the way to the lowly peasant, and anyone else incapable of defending themselves.
As with all the provinces, Liege eventually came under the rule of Burgundy. This brought to an end the democratic selection of the Prince-Bishop. Unlike many of the provinces, Liege was not a willing addition to the United Provinces. It was a Catholic stronghold, and loyal to the end to Spain. In 1608, the Spanish faced defeat at Liege, and the Prince-Bishopric was forced into the new Dutch nation.

The County of Holland
Until the Ninth Century, the inhabitants of what would become Holland were almost all Frisians, and the lands were part of Frisia Magna. Not until the days of the Holy Roman Empire did Holland become a fief in its own right. The first count known with any certainty was Dirk I, also Count of Frisia. One of the leading provinces within the United Provinces came from lowly origins, quite literally. In the United Provinces, there is a say; “God created the world, but the Dutch created Holland.”
Since the melting of the glaciers, tens of thousands of years earlier, the shoreline of Holland remained very dynamic. One century there would be shore, the next islands, and after that just seas. Shores would erode and vanish, only to be replaced by new beaches. Storm surges funneled down through the North Sea ran smack into Holland, wrecking havoc on the vulnerable shores. The people of Holland lived in the most unstable, watery environments possible. Behind the shifting coastal dunes, lay plateaus of peat. Most of the area was nothing more than bogs and marshes, a land better set for diseases than for leaders of the world. In order to cultivate the land, and turn it into the center of wealth, the inhabitants were forced to drain the marshes. Drainage did not come without price; the results came in the form of soil shrinkage, in some place the land fell by up to fifteen meters.
Early Hollander’s lives were one of constant struggle against the elements. Shifting coastlines were compounded by repeated flooding of the Rhine and Maas Rivers. The floods sometimes were so drastic, that the river changed course, flooding the lands only recently drained. The most severest of floods washed away entire towns, killing thousands. The Hollanders knew to save their lands, they must intervene, and force the rivers into their banks. The Counts of Hollands, and even Monasteries took the lead.
The first to rise were emergency levies, heavy dikes to bolster the weakest points. Over the decades, levies followed the rivers from inland borders to the sea. Eventually, a complex dike system would line all of Holland, protecting the people from the furies of water. Hollanders have a peculiar relationship with water. On one hand, they could not live without it, but on the other, it might very well kill them. In order to maintain the levies, the waterschappen (water control board) was established, which had the power to enforce their decisions on water management.
Holland, Westfriesland as it was known at the time, nearly came to an untimely end. The county was destined to become part of the Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht. The Count rebelled in 1018. Only difficulties between Pope and Emperor saved the county. In the years following, Holland struggled with its parent state of Frisia, along with the Duchy of Gelre for control over the northern Netherlands. Holland repeated imposed its will upon Zeeland and even Friesland. By the middle Fourteenth Century, the Count of Holland added the crowns of Hainaut, Flanders and Zeeland to his head.
Holland’s rise peaked before the Fifteen Century, after it added parts of Friesland to its borders. The end of independence came at the time of Countess Jacqueline. During what is known as the Hook and Cod wars, the Countess was forced to surrender Holland to the Duke of Burgundy. Again Burgundy strikes north, and taking another Dutch state into its possession. At the time, it appeared Burgundy’s star was rising. In hindsight, the annexations were a blessing, for they united all of the Netherlands beneath one banner. Without Burgundy, it is not likely that a single Dutch state would exist today.

Amsterdam
The origins of the world’s Financial Capital lay in the Thirteenth Century. It is theorized that fishermen along the banks of the Amstel River built a bridge across the river before it emptied into one of the Netherlands’ many salt water inlets. Wooden doors upon this bridge, which at times acted as a dam to hold back the sea. The oldest documentation of ‘Aemstelledamme’ dates back to 1204, when the inhabitants of Kennemer penetrated the Amstel dike, destroying the House of Gijsbrecht van Amstel.
The marshes of Holland are the most unlikely of places to give birth to one of the most magnificent cities in Europe. What is even more unlikely was that not only did Amsterdam survive, it thrived. In 1274, the Count of Holland granted Amsterdam fishermen exemption from the tolls. Around 1300, the Prince-Bishop of Utrecht gave Amsterdam city rights. The city was on the rise, though after the Bishop’s death, the city fell under the jurisdiction of Holland.
In 1323, the Count of Holland laid a toll on beer imported from Hamburg. Contacts laid through the beer trade formed the basis of further trade with northern Germany’s Hanseatic League. From where, during the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, Amsterdam increasingly acquired grain and timber. During the Fifteenth Century, Amsterdam became the granary of the Netherlands, and the most vital trading city in Holland.
Trade was almost the downfall of the city. In the 1340's, an uninvited guest of unprecedented terror paid Amsterdam a visit. Rattus rattus, the friendly neighborhood rat, stowed away in many shipments of grain and cloth. The rats themselves were little more than a nuisance, but they brought friends. The humble flea continued the chain, leading to the true enemy of Amsterdam. Both Bubonic and Pneumonic plagues laid waste to Europe, wiping out between twenty-five and fifty percent of the population.
In today’s world, such casualty rates are unthinkable. Take ten people on Monday, and by Thursday five are already dead. It is difficult to imagine a world where half those one knew died in a matter of days. The Black Death was so terrifying, that it shattered entire families. Parents shunned children, husbands wives, and even the clergy avoided contact with their followers. There was little more frightening in Medieval Europe than dying without last rites.
Society nearly collapsed by the time the Plague passed. The survivors wasted little time picking up the pieces. One might expect the trauma of Black Death to demoralize the populace. While no doubt some suffered for the rest of their lives, many took advantage of the situation. Before the Plague, the Netherlands were wrapped up in feudalism. Serfs worked the land, and even artisans were tied to their local lords. With half the population dead, workers fell into the demand section of ‘supply and demand’.
Peasants left their lands in search of new opportunities, and there was little their overlords could do to stop them. In England, serfdom vanished completely with the passing of the Plague. In the Netherlands, it shrank, but did not fully vanish until Dutch Independence. The transition from serfdom to rent-paying, wage-earning freemen never would have started if not for a deadly bacterium.

The Burgundian Era
Before the Burgundian Era, the inhabitants of the Netherlands identified themselves by the local duke or count they lived beneath, and in certain circumstances, by the very town or village they lived. By 1433, the Dukes of Burgundy managed to unite most of the provinces beneath one banner. The Dutch were now on the road to nationhood. The transition to a single country was a long and slow process; first came the tribes, then the fiefs, and now the Dutch. Burgundy proved a far more capable administrator than the Emperors of Holy Rome.
More than political unity, Burgundy brought economic unity as well. Following its conquest of Holland, which some of the Hollanders went as far as to invite Duke Philip the Good, Holland was integrated into the Flemish economy, and adopted its legal institutions. Burgundian Netherlands were a bit of an oddity in the Fifteenth Century. While many kingdoms were facing brutal civil wars, the Netherlands flourished, growing rich and enjoying peace.
Those same civil wars impacted the Dutch markets. During the Hundred Years War (1338-1453) trade with France dwindled. It would appear the French were far more interested in protecting their sovereignty from the English than trading with the Dutch. It is not to say the Netherlands avoided conflict. The new rulers, especially of Holland, defended Dutch trading interests. The Hollander fleet defeated it former trading partners, the Hanseatic League on several occasions, and rose to become Europe’s primary port for distribution of grain. The trade was most vital to the people of Holland, who grew so prosperous, that they could no longer support their growing population with limited domestic resources.
Not all the provinces enjoyed Burgundian rule. Gelre resented it deeply. It attempted to build up its own state in the north. Lacking funds in the Sixteenth Century, Gelre soldiers provided for themselves by plundering enemy terrain. Burgundy saw the Gelre as a great menace. The most notorious ‘provision’ came from the pillaging of The Hague. Gelre even allied with England and France, who both desired an end to the wealth of Flanders and the rule of Burgundy. Gelre was brought to heel and finally incorporated into Burgundy in 1473.
The most vital contribution during this period was the founding of the Staaten-General. The Estates-General convened for the first time on January 9, 1464, in the city of Bruges. It consisted of Statholders from Brabant, Flanders, Holland, Zeeland, Lille, Douai, Orchies, Artois, Hainaut, Namur, Mechelen and Boulonnais. Until 1464, the Duke of Burgundy maintained individual ties with each of these states. In theory, the first Estates-General comprised of three chambers; the nobility, the clergy, and the Third Estate, but the exact composition differed. Convening the Estates-General was part of Philip the Good’s plan for centralization.
The end of Burgundy started in 1477, when Charles the Bold died on the battlefield, leaving no male heir. As per Salic Law, the territorial Duchy of Burgundy reverted to the French crown. After finally expelling the English, France was eager to stretch its borders. Burgundian Netherlands passed into the hands of the Habsburgs, through Mary of Burgundy and her husband, Maximilian von Habsburg. By the middle of the Sixteenth Century, the Netherlands fell into the hands of the Spanish Branch of the House Habsburg, and the repression of Spain.

The Kiat
April 4th, 2010, 01:57 AM
II) The Forty Years War
(1568-1609)
Prelude to Rebellion
In the first years of Habsburg dominion, the Netherlanders barely noticed Spanish Overlordship. In fact Charles V was born in Ghent, and spoke fluent Dutch, French, Castillian1 and some German. In 1506, he gained lordship of the Burgundian states, among which included all the Dutch provinces. Subsequently in 1516, he inherited several titles, including the King of Aragon, King of Castile and Leon, which soon faced full political union as the Kingdom of Spain. In 1530, he reached the pinnacle of power when he was elected the Holy Roman Emperor. However, it was not to last. A combination of events, including funding the Habsburg’s world-wide empire, and religious turmoil in Germany would soon lead to revolution.
The Protestant Reformation
By the 1560s, the Protestant community grew in influence across Northern Europe. Dutch Protestants, after initial backlash, were generally tolerated by local authorities. Their wealth made them influential, and in a society based on trade and commerce, both freedom and tolerance were essential. Local lords were far more interested in wealth than conforming to Spanish law. They were a vital minority, but a minority nonetheless. In 1560, the majority of Netherlanders still follow to path laid down by the Holy Church.
With little to no regard for Dutch customs, Charles V believed it his duty to battle Protestantism, which under Spanish and Church law was considered heresy. His son, Philip II, struck out at the heretics far harsher than Charles V. By Phillip’s reign, the situation escalated to the point where Spanish soldiers were sent in to crush what Phillip viewed as Rebellion, and restore the authority of the Church to the Netherlands. The harsh measures led to increasing grievances, where local government had embarked on a course of coexistence. With the arrival of the Inquisition, Spain proved it was not interested in coexistence or tolerance.
The Dutch Protestants compared their humble values favorably against the luxurious habits of the ecclesiastical nobility. The Protestant movement initially emphasized such virtues of modesty, cleanliness, frugality and hard work. The so-called Protestant work ethic helped drive the Netherlands, even the Catholic citizens, into the world-striding Dutch Commonwealth of Nations of later centuries. Biblical stories of fishermen, ship builders and other humble occupations resonated among the seafaring Dutch. The moral elements of the Reformation represented a challenge to the Spanish Empire.
Taxation
The provinces of the Netherlands have grown into wealthy and entrepreneurial regions within the Habsburg’s private empire by the middle of the Sixteenth Century. Neighboring states often turned coveting eyes towards the provinces, Flanders in particular caught the attention of French kings for decades. Its wealth would make it a welcome addition to the French state. During the reign of Charles V, Spain blossomed into a world-wide empire, with territories not only across Europe, but engulfing most of the New World.
Control and defense of these lands were hampered by the very size of the Spanish Empire. Spain also had to face rivals who were more than eager to take a piece of its empire for themselves. Both Spain and France were locked into near continuous conflict in the Italian Wars, and Spain also must contest the Turks across the Mediterranean. For wars were waged in holy spirit across the heretical states in Germany. These wars impacted Spain’s treasury severely, and the Netherlands were forced to pay dearly to support them.
The provinces viewed these wars as unnecessary, or flat out harmful, as they were waged against important trading partners. No consideration was given to the markets built up in Amsterdam, Flanders or Antwerp when it came to Spain’s ‘divine’ right to spread the faith. By 1571, Spain imposed a ten percent sales tax on all land within the Netherlands. Harsher measures would soon follow. It was becoming increasingly clear that the Netherlands were not the provinces they had been beneath Burgundy rule, but rather viewed not much differently than its colonies.
Centralization
By the later Middle Ages, most of the administrators in the Netherlands were not the tradition aristocracy (the old families), but rather stemmed from non-noble families that worked their way into power over the previous century (the new families). Under the rule of Burgundy, the provinces enjoyed a degree of autonomy in appointing its own governors and councils. Thus the Netherlands represented a loose confederation of high independent-minded citizenry.
Spanish rule changed much of this. The Kings of Spain set out to improve their empire by increasing the authority of the central government in matters concerning taxation and laws. It was a policy which caused great suspicion among the Netherlands’ nobility and merchant classes. An example of Spain’s takeover of power occurred in 1528, when Charles V supplanted the council of guildmasters in Utrecht and replaced it with a regent answerable only to him. Under the regency of Mary of Hungary, tradition power had for a large part been stripped from the governors of the provinces and from the Dutch nobility, whose members were being replaced by Spanish jurists in the Council of State.
Phillip II went even further in appointing members to the Dutch Staaten-General, placing his confidante, Granvelle, as head of the assembly, and furthermore he appointed Margaret of Parma as Governor of all the Netherlands. By 1558, the situation grew worse, and the provinces began to openly contradict the Spanish King’s wishes. Many of the Staaten-General withdrew, including the Count of Egmont, Count of Horne and William of Orange, until Granville was recalled. Phillip II’s responded with even sterner oppression.
During the same time, religious protests increased in spite of the oppression and inquisition. In 1566, four hundred members of the high nobility petitioned the governor to suspend persecution. Count Berlaymont called the petition and act of gueux2, a name taken up as an honor by the petitioners, soon called Geuzen. Margaret accepted the petition, and sent in to Spain, for the King’s final verdict.
Uprising
The atmosphere in the Netherlands grew tense following the bad harvest of 1565, and economic difficulties caused by wars in Northern Europe. Hunger, hardship and the rebellious preaching of Calvinist leaders brought tensions to a boiling point. In August of 1566, a Calvinist mob stormed the church of Hondschoote in Flanders. This one incident sparked a massive iconoclast movement, where Calvinists raided churches and other religious centers, destroying all statues and imaged of Catholic Saints they could lay their hands upon.
The number of vandals was likely small, and their exact background is debated, but local authorities did little to rein in the enthusiastic iconoclasts. Their action drove the Dutch nobility into two camps. One camp, lead by William of Orange, opposed the destruction. Others, most notably Henry of Brederode, openly supported the movement, a dangerous statement in a world were a word from the Spanish Governor could cost you your head.
Before the petition of the Guezen could even be read, Phillip II knew he lost control in the troublesome provinces. He had little option but to send an army to suppress the rebellion. On August 22, 1567, Fernando Alvarez of Toledo, the 3rd Duke of Alba, marched into the city of Brussels at the head of an army numbering ten thousand strong. The ‘Iron Duke’ entered the Netherlands with unlimited power and replaced Margaret as governor. Alba took harsh measures and quickly established a series of special courts to judge all in opposition to the king.
The Blood Council
Alba established a tribunal which was soon known by the locals as the ‘Blood Council’ or ‘Blood Court’. During his six years of governorship, thousands of people were brought forth to these courts, convicted and executed. The exact number of the condemned is not known, the Dutch claim eighteen thousand, while the Spanish history only recorded a few hundred. No matter the cost, the Duke of Alba failed in his quest. Instead of quelling the rebellion, his measures helped fuel the unrest. He unwittingly became the instrument of future independence of the Seventeen Provinces.
His ruthless ‘justice’ extended beyond the Protestant trouble makers. He had both Lamoral, Count of Egmont, and Philip of Montmorency, Count of Hoorn imprisoned. Both were very popular leaders of the dissatisfied nobility, and both were Catholic. Nonetheless, Alba condemned both as traitors to the crown without benefit of a trial, and sentenced them to death. On June 1, 1568, six days before the deaths of Egmont and Hoorn, twenty-two noblemen of Brussels were simultaneously beheaded. Deaths ordered by an overlord, rather than judged in court, sparked a wave of outrage across the Netherlands, both Protestant and Catholic alike.
The Duke of Alba entered the Netherlands with the explicit goal of crushing the rebellion. Instead, he managed to unite what should have been a very volatile sectarian conflict. Instead of gathering the support of the majority of the Netherlands, he managed to drive even the most loyal of Spain’s supporters into the rebels camp. The Staaten-General met at Dordrecht, minus the Spanish appointees, and openly declared against Alba’s government, and marshaled beneath the banners of the Prince of Orange.
William of Orange
Willem van Oranje, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Friesland, was born into the House of Orange on April 24, 1533. In his day, he was widely known as William the Silent, so much so that William Shakespear wrote a play by the same name though William the Silent dealt mostly with the exploits of Earl of Leicester, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, and his campaign against the Spanish in the Netherlands. In Tudor England, a writer could not live long unless he was on the Queen’s good side.
The Prince of Orange came from the castle of Dillenburg in Nassau, in present day Germany. He was the eldest son of the Count of Nassau and Juliana of Stolberg-Werningerode. Unlike many across the mostly Catholic low countries, William was razed a Lutheran. By principle, this made him a target in the eyes of the Holy Inquisition. William’s rise to power started in 1544, when his cousin, the former Prince of Orange died without an heir. William inherited his cousin’s title and vast estates throughout the Netherlands. Because of his young age, Charles V (both King of Spain and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) served as regent until his was fit to rule.
In order for the Lutheran to gain his rightful lands from his regent, he had no choice but to study beneath Mary of Hungary in Brussels. Charles V insisted that William receive a Catholic education. In Brussels, he was taught foreign languages, such as Spanish, and received military and diplomatic education. On July 6, 1551, William married his first wife, Anna of Egmont, a wealthy heiress of her father’s lands and title.
In the same year of his marriage, William was appointed captain in the cavalry. Despite the taint of Lutheranism that would haunt him during Phillip II’s reign, William rapidly grew into Charles V’s favor, and became commander of one of the Emperor’s armies by the age of twenty-two. Both marital education and experience in the Holy Roman Empire would serve William well in his future struggle for Dutch Independence. When Charles abdicated, it was on William’s shoulder the former Emperor leaned as he stepped down in favor for his son, Phillip. When standing there, watching his father abdicate, did Phillip know then man by his side would one day become Spain’s second greatest enemy of the Sixteenth Century3?
Phillip II’s relations with William remained positive in William’s early years. It was Phillip who appointed William as Stadtholder of Holland, and thus greatly increased his political power. The year before, tragedy struck his life. His first wife died on March 24, 1558. Though a personal tragedy, the death of Anna permitted William to take another wife, and sire more children, one of which would be the founder of a dynasty.
William, brought up a Lutheran and given a Catholic education was a strong proponent of religious freedom. Like those to follow, he believed that one’s religion was a private matter. In deed, he was very dissatisfied by the growing persecution of Protestants throughout his provinces. Ironically, the persecution angered the Catholic population more so than the intended targets. Those who were assumed to be loyal to Spain grew in opposition to foreign rule.
On August 25, 1561, William married for a second time, this time to an ill-tempered woman known as Anna of Saxony. It is generally believed that William married Anna to increase his power and gain influence over the German states of Saxony and Hesse. William did gain more power, but more importantly, the Netherlands gained one of their greatest leaders when Anna gave birth to their first son, Maurice.
During the Blood Council, William was one of the thousands summoned to stand in judgement before the Iron Duke. He failed to show, and was subsequently declared an outlaw, his lands seized immediately afterward. As a popular leader in the Staaten-General, William emerged as leader to the armed rebellion against Spain. In pamphlets and letters spread across the Netherlands, William called attention to the right of subjects to renounce their oath of obedience if their sovereign refused to respect their rights.
William razed an army to battle the Duke of Alba, containing of mostly German mercenaries. Contingents of his army, lead by his brothers Louis and Adolf, engaged and defeated a Spanish army of three thousand at Heiligerlle in Groningen. The Battle of Heiligerlle marks the start of the Forty Years War. The victory turned into a hollow one. Instead of pressing the campaign onward, William ran short of funds and his army disintegrated. Armies razed by his allies were handily defeated and destroyed by the Duke of Alba.
William went into hiding as soon as the initial fires of rebellion died out. He was only one of the grandees still able to offer resistance. With his ancestral lands of Orange, in Breda, remained under Spanish occupation, William moved his court to Delft, in Holland. Delft would remain William’s base of operation until his death, in 1584.
Brielle
On March 1, 1572, Queen Elizabeth of England ousted thousands of Dutch exiles within her own nation. She walked a fine line in regards to Spain, and could not afford to provoke Phillip II. Though Spain was distracted by wars against the Turks, they were still more than a match for England’s small army. To appease Phillip, she had little option but to kick out the Gueux. The ejection forces the beggars to return home.
Under the command of Lumey, the Gueux captured the unguarded town of Brielle. By grabbing a toe hold in the northern Netherlands, the rebels let the Protestants populace know the time to rebel had returned. As far as morale was concerned, Brielle turned out to be an important victory. In reality, it was little more than a token defeat of a nonexistent occupying force. Cities across Zeeland and Holland quickly renewed their support for the rebels. The most conspicuous absence in support came from Amsterdam itself.
With rebellion back in swing, William of Orange came out of hiding to take command. In July of 1572, the Staaten-General assembled in Dordrecht, and agreed to recognize William as Governor-General of the Netherlands. It was agreed upon that William would share his new found power with the Provinces. Sharing of power eventually metamorphosed into the separation of powers soon to be the cornerstone of the United Provinces.
However, by declaring for the Protestants, the Gueux handed William an assortment of problems. The minority Calvinists were bent on converting all of the Netherlands to their way of thinking. Meanwhile, the Catholic Dutch maintained no permanent allegiance, instead wanting to simply eject the Duke of Alba and his army of Spaniards and mercenaries. A majority of the Dutch were reluctant to rebel at all. Though they were no fans of Spain, they still wished to live their lives in peace and earn a decent income. By making an enemy of Spain, merchants had difficulty in trading abroad. William was the key figure in directing the various factions to a common goal.
It is doubtful that William would have been successful if not for an outside enemy to unite all the Dutch. Tension between Calvinists and Catholics threatened to tear apart the rebellion. No matter how hard William tried to convince the masses he was fighting for nationalism, the fanatical Calvinists would quickly open their collective mouths and insert their collective feet. William had little choice but to work with the Calvinists, since they were fighting the Spanish harder than any other Netherlander. As with much during the Forty Years War, it was not what the Dutch leaders said, but what the Spanish did that strengthened the unity between Provinces.
The Spanish Fury
Being unable to squash the rebellion, the Duke of Alba was replaced in 1573, by Luis of Requesnes. Requesnes came to the Netherlands with what he considered a policy of moderation. He would punish rebels, but cease harassment of those who would swear loyalty to the King. His policy was poorly managed, and by the time of his death in 1576, moderation was swept from the table.
What struck William’s army years before, now struck the Spanish. In 1575, because of wars abroad and at home, Spain declared bankruptcy. The inability to pay their army, particularly their mercenaries, would have dire consequences for Spanish rule in the Netherlands. Mutinies followed lack of pay, and on November 4, 1576, troops from the Spanish Tercois entered the wealthy port of Antwerp.
Tired of fighting numerically superior rebels without their salary, the mercenaries decided to ‘pay themselves’ by looting Antwerp. The out-of-control army indulged in a wave of violence that claimed some eight thousand lives and untold quantities of lost property. For three days, the mercenaries pillaged, plundered and looted anything not nailed down. For locals, the Sack of Antwerp became a reference point in their lives. Antwerpers soon began to refer to events in their lives as ‘before the sacking’ or after it.
Instead of crushing the rebellion, the mutinous army managed to turn even the harshest critics of the rebellion into its most adherent followers. The most reluctant of Dutch took up arms and pledged to fight together against the Spanish. Those provinces and cities still loyal to Spain were quickly alienated by the carnage seen at Antwerp and joined the rest of the Netherlands in open rebellion. In one single act of greed and brutality, the modern Dutch state was born.
The Pacification of Ghent
Following the Spanish Fury, the Provinces of the Netherlands negotiated an internal treaty, in which all Dutch put aside their religious difference to combat the foreigners who so ravished their lands. William of Orange was instrumental in forming the alliance, and more importantly, of finally pushing the religious question out of public domain. The declaration was also the first major expression of Dutch national self-consciousness.
To make this work, William allied himself with the most powerful of southern nobles, the Duke of Aerschott. Aerschott himself was no fan of William, and was opposed to the rebellion up until the Sacking of Antwerp. What he wanted more than to see William’s downfall, was the restoration of the old privileges and his rights, both revoked by Phillip of Spain. In order to achieve his goals, he teamed up with William. William’s ultimate ambition, a United Netherlands strong enough to resist Spanish domain, was nearing a reality.
The Pacification of Ghent, aside from making religious tolerance law, also called for the expulsion of all Spanish armed forces and restoration of local and provincial prerogatives. If Phillip II did not take a simple petition well, such a bold declaration infuriated him. Who were these Dutch upstarts, to make demands of their anointed king? Answering the only way he knew how, with a heavy hand, he sent Alessandro Farnes, the Duke of Parma, to crush these traitors. The Duke of Parma was appointed Governor-General, the same title held by the Prince of Orange. Clearly the Netherlands were not large enough for the both of them. Aided by a shipment of bullion just arrived from the New World, the Duke of Parma formed his army and set out to destroy the Dutch rebellion
Oath of Abjuration
In Sixteenth Century Europe, it was not conceivable that a country could be governed by anyone other than high nobility, if not a king, so the Staaten-General sought out a suitable replacement for their current ‘king’ Phillip of Spain. They first courted Elizabeth of England, but in 1581, she was in no position to displace Phillip II. Spain still eyed England, and would jump at the slightest provocation to invade the island nation and destroy it Protestant institutions. Thus, Elizabeth rejected the offer of protectorship.
With one rejection on its list, the Staaten-General turned to Elizabeth’s one-time suitor, the Duke of Anjou. The younger brother to the French King accepted the offer, under one condition; the Netherlands must denounce any loyalty to Phillip II. In 1581, the Oath of Abjuration was issued, in which the Netherlands proclaimed the King of Spain did not uphold his responsibilities to the Dutch population and thus no longer accepted as their rightful ruler. In other words, on July 22, 1581, the Provinces declared independence.
Anjou did not stay long in the Netherlands. He was, naturally for a French noble, deeply disturbed by the limited influence and power the Staaten-General was willing to grant him. The French were accustomed to rule by edict, and in a sense were little different from Spanish. Both believed strongly that their right to rule was divine, and that God anointed them ruler over all their subjects and their lives. After some attempt to increase his power via a coup, the Duke of Anjou was rapidly ridden out of the Netherlands, losing any chance of ever being King.
A third, and obvious choice presented itself. Many of his followers and allies suggest that William himself take up the crown of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. William considered the offer, but put it on hold for the time being. The alliance between provinces was shaky at best, and William’s opponents might use it as a chance to move against him. He could ill afford to have the rebellion turn in on itself.
After Spain was defeated? William was unsure even then. If he became King, how many of the Provinces would follow him? Catholic nobles were suspicious since he was born a Lutheran. Protestant nobles were suspicious because he obtained a Catholic education. Lastly, the Calvinists were suspicious because he himself was not one of them. Though he was not King, he was still seen as head of the rebellion. As such, the King of Spain placed a bounty on his head, one that many were intent on collecting.
Fall of Antwerp
By 1584, the King of Spain was through playing games with the rebels. He called upon the Duke of Parma to restore ‘peace and orthodoxy’ to his Netherlands. Parma met various Dutch militia in battle after battle, defeating the untrained men with ease. In the first half of the 1580s, Parma tried to force William into a decisive battle, where he could tear out the heart of the rebellion. IN July of 1584, Parma led his army to encircle the focal point of resistance, Antwerp.
Less than a decade earlier, Antwerp faced the wrath of mutinous Spaniards. Thousands of Dutch were slaughtered in the ensuing sacking, and hundreds of houses put to the torch. At the time, Antwerp was not only the largest Dutch city, but also the financial, cultural and economic center of Sixteenth Century Netherlands. Its trade even eclipsed Amsterdam, granary of the north.
Parma’s first act was the construction of a bridge across the Scheldt River, to isolate Antwerp from the growing Dutch Navy. After the Spanish Fury, rebels flocked to Antwerp, transforming it into the capital of the Dutch rebellion. By taking the city, Parma hoped to break the will of the rebels and force them back into the Spanish fold. After a year long siege, the city surrendered.
After the siege, Parma kept the bridge across Scheldt in place, blocking all traffic and trade to the port. Protestants were forced to leave town before the fall, to keep ahead of the Inquisition. They were not the only ones to leave. Tens of thousands fled northward, reducing Antwerp’s population from nearly one hundred thousand down to forty thousands. What was the golden century of Antwerp came to an end on August 17, 1585.
Assassination
William continued his struggle, now with a twenty-five thousand crown reward on him. In what was to be his last year, William married for a fourth and final time, this time to Louise of Coligny, a Huguenot. She bore him one child, Frederick Henry, future king. William, himself, given up the idea of becoming king. He had enough trouble already. The Duke of Parma’s campaign threatened to break his alliance. Many Catholic communities, seeing Spain back on the rise, wavered in their loyalty. Wavered, but did not break. Too many times the Spanish broke the Dutch Catholic’s hearts, and they were not about to trust them again.
William’s demise came from the hand of Balthasar Gerard. When William was declared an outlaw, back in 1581, Gerard decided to travel to the Netherlands and collect on the bounty. He served in the army of Luxembourg for two years, hoping to get close enough to take a shot at William. Alas, the two armies never joined, and in 1584, Gerard left the army. He presented the Duke of Parma his plans, but the Duke was hardly impressed, but permitted the would-be assassin to go ahead.
In May of 1584, Gerard presented himself to William as a French Nobleman, and presented him with the seal of the Count of Mansfelt. This seal would permit forgeries of messages of Mansfelt. William sent Gerard back to France, to pass the seal to his French allies. Gerard returned in July, having bought pistols on his return voyage. On July 10, he made an appointment to meet William in his residence, in Delft.
What happened next altered the course of Dutch history, and is, in fact the first recorded assassination of a head of state by a fire arm. It would not be the last. Gerard shot William in the chest at close range and fled. According to official reports, Williams last words were said to be "My God, have pity on my soul; my God, have pity on this poor people". The assassin failed to flee Delft before his apprehension and imprisoned. His fate was the same as to befall anyone who committed regicide.
Earl of Leicester
By 1585, the Staaten-General signed the Treaty of Nonsuch with England. As per the treaty, Elizabeth I sent an army numbering six thousand to do battle with the Spanish. She found appeasing Phillip II now impossible, and decided it best to beat him over there than in her own backyard. Leading the English Army was Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. Long since a favorite of the Queen, and rumored to be her lover at one point, Leicester remains a controversial character in Dutch history. It was not the first time Leicester was the center of controversy; years earlier, his wife was found dead at the bottom of a stair case. Though the death was ruled accidental, his closeness to the Queen, and the vacant Kingship, made her death more than a little convenient. He spent the following years laying low and out of sight.
Leicester was offered the Governor-Generalship, though he could not rule with a free hand. His Queen forbade him from making any agreements with Spain without her consent. Further more, he did not share the secular values laid down by the Pacification of Ghent. He immediately sided with the Calvinists, drawing distrust from everyone else. He also butted heads with Stadtholders and nobles across the Netherlands when he tried to strengthen his own power by robbing the Provinces of theirs. He was not the first to make this error, but he would be the last.
Leicester proved to be a poor commander, hardly worthy of a staring role in William the Silent. Nor did he understand the delicate balance between trade and war. The Dutch, by 1586, were fully committed to independence, however this was by no means an abandonment of commerce. Within a year of his arrival, the Earl of Leicester lost the support of the Staaten-General and population at large. He returned to England, after which the Staaten-General was unable to find any other suitable regent. This was not the way either government envisioned an Anglo-Dutch Alliance to begin.
The Spanish Armada
The turning point in the Forty Years War came in August of 1588. Under the command of the notorious privateer, Sir Francis Drake, a fleet of English and Dutch ships defeated the Spanish Armada at the Battle of Gravelines. Finally tired of the resistance offered by the Protestant Queen of England, Phillip II assembled a vast armada, consuming most of Spain’s treasury, for an invasion of the island nation.
At the command of twenty-two warships and one hundred eight converted transports, the King appointed the Duke of Medina-Sidonia. He was to sail to the Netherlands and ferry the Duke of Parma’s army across the sea. Twenty thousand Spanish and mercenary soldiers awaited the Armada at Dunkirk. In May, Medina-Sidonia set sail from Lisbon on what he expected to be an easy conquest. After all, the English Army was pathetic in comparison to Spain’s.
Following a running fight, and a night attack by fireships in July, Medina-Sidonia was forced to take the Armada into port. He chose Gravelines in Flanders as a base to reform his scattered fleet. Its proximity to the English coast made it as good a spot as any to embark Parma’s army. Parma was taken by surprise by the Armada’s choice of ports, and required six days to bring his troops up for embarkation.
Those six days gave England enough room to maneuver. In that time, Drake learned more of the Armada’s strengths and weaknesses through a series of skirmished in the Channel. What they learned gave Drake the edge. Spanish guns were very unwieldy and their crews poorly trained, a far cry from the Royal Navy. Spain preferred to board enemy ships and fight them hand-to-hand. In this way, Spain held the upper hand.
Drake was not about to allow the Spanish to close in for boarding. His own strengths lay in cannon fire. On August 8, Drake lead the fleet of English and Dutch vessels into battle. With its superior maneuverability, the English provoked the Spanish into firing while they stayed out of range. Once the Armada expended their heavy shot, Drake moved in for the kill, firing repeated broadsides into the enemy ships. Though only eleven of the Spanish ships were sunk or crippled, Drake cancelled the Armada’s plans to embark Parma’s army. Medina-Sidonia left port and set sail towards home. Both English and Dutch ships hounded the Armada across the North Sea, but in the end, rough seas and not rough marines destroyed the Armada. Upon returning to Spain, it is reported the Phillip II responded by saying ‘I sent my ships to fight against the English, not against the Elements.’
Maurice of Orange
In looking for a new commander for the rebellion, by 1587, the Staaten-General turned to twenty year old Maurice of Orange. Born on November 14, 1567, to William’s second wife, Maurice inherited his father’s leadership abilities, though not his serial monogamy. Maurice never married, though he did father two illegitimate children. At the age of sixteen, when his father was gunned down, Maurice inherited his titles and lands (though the latter were still occupied).
The borders of the United Provinces are largely defined by the campaigns of Maurice. Was it his genius that lead the Dutch nation to independence or fiscal burdens placed on Spain by the loss of its naval investments? What can be said is, that it was Maurice who organized the rebellion against Spain into a coherent and successful revolution. In the early 1590s, Maurice lead the rebel army to victory in sieges against Breda, Steenwijk and Geertruidenberg.
Following campaigns chased the demoralized Spanish army across much of the Netherlands, driving them from Groningen, Holland, Zeeland and Friesland by 1595. Spain experienced setbacks before in the Dutch revolt, and figured this would be no different. Sooner or later, the Provinces would bicker and divide themselves, where the Spanish could move in and reassert itself. This grand illusion was forever shattered in 1600, at a town called Nieuwpoort.
The Battle of Nieuwpoort
On July 2, 1600, Maurice of Orange met the Spanish Army, commanded by the Archduke of Austria, near the city of Nieuwpoort. By mid-June, Maurice managed to raise an army of over ten thousand men. Again the Spanish army faced mutiny, one that made it impossible for a relief army to be razed by the Archduke. The only way to keep the army together was the promise of free plunder. The workings of a second Spanish Fury were on the drawing board.
The desire of freedom outweighed greed, and in the end, Maurice managed to drive the Spanish from the field of battle, a rare feat in the Sixteenth Century, but soon to become all too common during the Seventeenth. Dutch lines of communication were stretched to vulnerable limits, forcing Maurice to withdraw as well. Spanish strength along the Dutch coast was sapped by the battle, paving the way for a future campaign against Dunkirker pirates.
Following the battle, the Dutch were finally able to dismantle the bridge Spain built fifteen years earlier to block Antwerp trade. Nieuwpoort offered another turning point in the war. Never again could Spain threaten the northern Provinces. Further more, Spain’s stranglehold on the south was now in danger. Maurice portrayed the next nine years as a campaign to liberate all the Netherlands from Spanish hands. In truth, the northern Provinces view eliminating threats to trade as a notch above freeing their own brethren, and nearly forced Maurice to halt his campaign, five years later.
The Dunkirkers
Pirate nests plagued Dutch trade all through the Forty Years War. Instead of destroying the pirates, as was the Spanish King’s responsibility to the Netherlands, he encouraged it. Such actions were understandable after the Oath of Abjuration, but not before. Since the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the Dutch navy grew from a gaggle of converted merchant ships into a force that rivaled any on the sea. Even England’s Royal Navy was second to that of the Netherlands. Pirates on the open seas were little threat to the Dutch Navy, were they would meet untimely ends very quickly.
In order to root out the pirates, the army must march on Dunkirk and its surrounding regions to burn out the nests. In 1606, that was precisely what Maurice set out to do. With an army of eleven thousand men, Maurice attempted to force the pirates into battle on the field. Instead, most fled from the sight of a large army descending upon them. Maurice sent detachments to hunt down the pirates, and set into motion of literally smoking them out. Each pirate den his army stumbled upon was put to the torch, and each pirate found mercilessly cut down. By October of 1606, the Dunkirker threat was destroyed, and the southern Netherlands free for commerce to once again thrive.
Liege
Out of all the Provinces, only Liege maintained loyalty to Spain. Despite the Spanish Fury, the Bishopric could not bring itself to turn on who they saw as Defender of the Faith. Its location right smack in the middle of the southern Provinces, Liege could not be bypassed or ignored. Luxembourg alone was completely cut off from the rest of the Netherlands by Liege.
In 1608, Maurice already had the bulk of the remaining Spanish army bottled up under siege in the city of Brussels, former capital of the Spanish Netherlands. The Staaten-General was not content with having a huge hole in its new nation. While the Siege of Brussels was nearing its final days, the Staaten-General ordered Maurice to deal with Liege. Against his better judgement, Maurice divided his forces, and lead seven thousand infantry and cavalry into the Bishopric of Liege.
He did not fear Papal retribution. The fact that the Netherlands was already home to many Protestants made them suspect. His only real concern was that the Spanish commander in Brussels might rally his forces and break out. If they did, and linked up with the Spanish army assembling near Mons, they could threaten all the southern Provinces. By now, the King of Spain knew keeping all the Netherlands under his thumb was all but impossible. Instead, he was forced to focus on the Catholic region, hoping it would stay true to the faith. This goes to show how little Spain understood the revolution. Religion was never the top concern (with the possible exception of the Calvinists), but the right of the people to decide their own fate.
The Bishop of Liege failed to muster any army worthy of the name. When Maurice arrived in Liege, the Bishop commanded barely one thousand men, most of them mercenaries. He knew the sell-swords would not fight to defend the church. When the battle turned against them, they might very well run. Though Liege stayed loyal to Spain after ‘the fury’, they lost any trust for mercenaries. The Bishop knew any battle would end in defeat, and loss of power.
Instead of fighting, the Bishop decided to cut a deal with Maurice and the Staaten-General. Under the white flag of truce, the two met between the lines of armies. It was here, that the Bishop saw just how puny his own force was in comparison. The Bishop agreed to join the United Provinces under one condition; he would stay in power. Maurice could not agree to this, for the Staaten-General was a forum where faith did not belong. His father dedicated his life to the very concept of freedom of religion.
The Bishop could not stomach being part of such a ‘godless’ state, but he could not fight either. Martyrdom did not appeal much to him, the Bishop thought he would be more use to God alive, and leading his flock. In the end, with much convincing to the Staaten-General, Maurice managed to strike a compromise. Liege would become part of the United Provinces, and the Bishop would stay in power, but only as spiritual leader. For the interim, Maurice would select a regent to rule as secular ruler4. It was not until the end of the Forty Years War would Liege’s government be settled.
Surrender at Mons
Much to Maurice’s fears, some of the defenders of Brussels managed to escape the siege and link up with remaining forces massing at Mons. By the end of 1608, Brussels had little choice but to surrender. Some of the Spanish soldiers cast off their uniforms, deserted and simply merged with the crowds. There was no love for Spain in Brussels, and many deserters were turned in by locals. In response to their actions, Dutch authorities tired them as spies, and hung more than one.
With Brussels secure and Liege now conforming to Staaten-General, Maurice of Orange had only the enemy ahead. The last bastion of Spanish authority within the Netherlands lay in the city of Mons. Ironically, the last battle of the Forty Years War was fought upon what is now French territory. At the time, it lay within the reaches of the low countries, and would eventually be ceded to the French in the Eighteenth Century.
The Duke of Parma assembled his army outside of Mons. He considered holing up in the city, but unlike Brussels, he knew no reinforcements were waiting. To the Duke there was great honor in dying in the field of battle, but none to be gain by starving to death. His six thousand soldiers faced Maurice and some ten thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry. Parma was badly outnumbered, but he still would fight the battle on his terms. He would utilize what cavalry and artillery remained in hopes of punching a hole in Maurice’s lines.
The Prince of Orange outgunned Parma as well as outnumbered. He would not give Parma the opportunity to turn his few remaining guns upon Dutch forces. Shortly after seizing a modest hill near the battlefield, Maurice ordered all his guns to open fire on the enemy, who had yet to organize into lines. The hour long bombardment disrupted the Spanish forces, driving some of the less reliable men and units to desert the field. Parma quickly ordered his own men to cut down any who retreated without his command.
Parma still hoped to rally his army into one glorious charge, but Maurice would not have it. He was not about to lose, not this close to victory. Shortly after the guns fell silent, Dutch heavy cavalry charged forward, catching the disorganized Spanish forces and scattering them. Behind the horsemen, thousand of soldiers marched forward, mopping up any and all Spanish pockets of resistance remaining. The excellent execution of this early combined-arms assault rolled up the last Spanish presence in less than an hour.
Mortally wounded during the fighting, the Duke of Parma had little choice but to parley. He sent his emissaries under the flag of truce to meet with Maurice. Over two thousand Spaniards died that day, but the survivors were surprised by Maurice’s leniency. Like all Dutch, he wanted the Spanish gone more than anything else. The enemy were disarmed and escorted to Dunkirk. Here they were herded on board ships and sent home. Their arrival in Seville was a message to the Spanish King, a message declaring it was time to negotiate. For all intent purpose, the war at home was over.
Victory Abroad
In the middle of the Sixteenth Century, Phillip inherited the throne of Portugal. Both nations were soon brought into personal union, and the King wasted no time in using Portuguese resources. Their army left something to desire, but their navy, and their trade routes to the east, added to Spain’s power5. By a technicality in the Treaty of Tordelles, Portugal laid claim to a large stretch of eastern South America, Brazil. It was a land, that by 1600, the Dutch decided to take for themselves.
By the Seventeen Century, sugar was all the rage in Europe. The Portuguese turned vast swaths of Brazil into sugarcane fields, bringing them nearly as much wealth as the gold sent to Spain. A variety of food and luxury crops were grown in the wide expanses of Brazil, a colony many times larger than the United Provinces. The Dutch population grew over the past century, forcing them to rely upon importation of food to prevent famine. Brazil offered more than enough land for the Dutch to farm, plus it would remove any dependancy on importation of grain from foreign states.
Ernst van Bohr
Born in 1561, little is known about one of the Netherlands’ most famous admirals. Bohr found himself a sailor by the age of sixteen. In 1588, he commanded one of the Dutch ships during the engagement with the Spanish Armada. During the battle, Bohr earned the reputation as a reckless leader, willing to throw himself into the line of fire to obtain victory. Unlike many Dutch, Bohr had little interest in business. He lacked the patience to gradually earn wealth, and preferred the glories of conquest over the subtleties of trade.
By 1602, Bohr rose to the rank of Admiral, commanding 18 ships, led a raid on Aviliz, on the Spanish mainland. For twelve days, his sailors and marines occupied the Spanish port. Bohr resupplied his fleet courtesy of the Spanish, and looted both silver and gold before abandoning the city. The Netherlands were interested in freedom, not overthrowing the Habsburgs. Whomever headed the United Provinces would have their hands full trying to govern the Provinces, much less occupied territories that have no desire to be ruled by the Dutch.
Bohr’s biggest acclaim to fame was as Conqueror of Brazil. In 1604, he landed eighteen hundred men in the Brazilian port of Salvador. No resistance to speak of was offered, and the only combat within the town came from a lone colonist mistaking patrolling Dutch for game. After assembling his force in Salvador, Bohr threw off his admiral’s hat and took up the mantle of general. He lead his small army towards Recife, to battle the Portuguese garrison stationed there.
The Battle of Recife, future capital of Brazil, occurred on May 8, 1604. Bohr now lead only one thousand men. Five hundred were left to hold Salvador, while nearly three hundred already succumbed to tropical disease. Portugal mustered only a few hundred colonial militia to combat a vastly larger invasion fort. Bohr’s five cannon helped decide the outcome before the battle even began. Militia charged into a volley of fire, falling before they could come into range of sword and spear. Bohr wasted no time in fortifying his new conquests. Months passed before word of the fall of Recife reached the Iberian Peninsula. Spain could spare little in combating the Dutch in distant Brazil. However, they were deeply concerned that the Dutch would not be satisfied with Brazil. They might very well make a grab at Mexico or Peru, both rich in gold and silver. Fear of losing their bullion supply was the primary motivating factor in the King’s decisions to engage the Dutch across the Atlantic. A small armada of thirty-one ships and three thousand men were assembled in Seville, with the explicit goal of eliminating Ernst van Bohr. In early 1605, the Spanish and Portuguese set sail for Brazil, meeting the Dutch fleet off the coast of Natal.
Unlike the much larger battle with the Spanish Armada, the Battle of Natal ended far more decisively. Twenty-seven Dutch ships encountered thirty-one ships early in the morning of March 15, 1605. After a two day battle, the Dutch all but destroyed the combined fleet. Bohr proved once again a master admiral, while the Spanish and Portuguese failed to achieve any cohesion. Using one of the oldest strategies in the book, Bohr managed to divide the enemy fleet, and destroy it a few ships at a time. In the end, the only reason any Spanish ships escaped was due to exhaustion of ammunition and powder on the Dutch side. For his actions, the Staaten-General awarded Bohr land in Brazil, and the title Count of Natal.
Battle of Cape Verde
When the Dutch began their rebellion, their could scarcely hope to gain their freedom from the masters of Europe. By 1608, not only was that goal inevitable, but the Dutch were on their way to empire. The biggest losers of the Forty Years War were not the Spanish, but rather Portugal. September 15, 1608, sounded the death nail of the Portuguese Empire. What remained of the Portuguese Navy, twiddled down by attrition by the Dutch across the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, were ambushed twelve kilometers southwest of Cape Verde.
The Count of Natal, Grand Admiral of the Netherlands, led his battle hardened fleet in an attack against the Portuguese remnants. Natal divided his fleet into three sections, each crossing the ‘T’ at the appropriate time. After the first cross, Portugal’s ships scattered, and became easy pickings for the Dutch. Had the Portuguese Navy held formation, it would likely have fought its way through the battle and managed to reach home. As it happened, the ships were sunk to the last, guaranteeing Portugal’s colonies would sit on the negotiating table.
The Treaty of Calais
In mid 1609, the belligerent parties of Spain, the Netherlands and England, along with observers for Portugal, met in the town of Calais. After surrendering at Mons, two months earlier, a general armistice was agreed upon. Spain lost too much in retaining such a small piece of territory. Portugal lost far more, and they were not even the Dutch’s real enemy. Spain had the option of continuing the war, but after Mons, there was no real hope at victory. The Dutch Navy was too powerful, and any attempt to land would be disastrous. Overland routes were off the table, for France was at war with Spain as well.
The first order of business was decided by the end of the first day; Spain would recognize Dutch Independence. That much was never in doubt. What came into doubt was the future of colonial possessions. The Dutch had no interest in Spain’s holding, but demanded Portugal surrender all of its remaining colonies and trading posts to the United Provinces. Fleets in the Indian Ocean either captured or destroyed posts along the African coast, conquered Ceylon and virtually drove the Portuguese out of India.
Brazil was already home to hundreds of Dutch colonists looking for new opportunities, along with the new Count of Natal. Portugal resisted the idea, but Spain gave them no say in the decision. If they did not cede their colonial possessions, the Dutch would continue the war and leave Portugal in ruins. Some in Portugal dreamed about putting a native king back on the throne, and losing their empire would only strengthen Spain’s position.
Spain was already looking forward to political unification of Iberia, and surmised it could take back Brazil at a later date. For now, it must rest and recuperate. In return for Portugal’s colonies, the Dutch agreed not to interfere with Spanish shipping, and would allow what would now days be called ‘favored trade status’ with Spain, by lowering tariffs on Spanish goods. Considering the amount of wealth that would flow out of the East Indies and Brazil, the United Provinces could afford to wave a few import fees.
Spain was forced to give up one of its possessions, however, to England. In 1604, the English
managed to capture Manilla and its harbor. Once entrenched in the Philippines, England decided they would not give it up. Manilla offered an excellent harbor from which to center English trade in the Far East. England gobbled up many Portuguese trading posts in West Africa, along with their slave trade. Portugal’s final indignity came with the dismantling of its colonial companies, and end of its commercial enterprise. As far as Portugal was concerned, whether the war continued or ended, they were lost.
The Treaty was finalized by November, and signed by all parties. The Staaten-General ratified to treaty only after an hour’s worth of debate, when all sides prazed the treaty. On November 17, 1609, the United Provinces of the Netherlands were officially born. With the war against Spain over, the real challenge began; governing diverse provinces, and just what to do with all the colonial spoils of war.

The Kiat
April 4th, 2010, 02:06 AM
III) The United Province of the Netherlands
(1609-1648)
The Dutch State: Kingdom or Republic?
By the start of 1610, the Staaten-General faced its first post-war crisis; just what sort of government would govern the United Provinces. Many opted for the more traditional approach, declaring that no nation could exist without a King. The idea of a kingless state was not unheard of; many of the mercantile republics of Italy, such as Venice and Genoa, did find without any king. In fact, the Netherlands won their independence without any sort of monarch, or singular Head of State. Many in the Protestant north called for the United Provinces to be a republic, governed by the Staaten-General itself.
It was a sound plan, and the perfect way to preserve provincial rights1. However, those same rights threatened to tear the newly freed nation apart. Some sought such a loose confederation, that a neighboring province was not even obliged to help another if that one was invaded. The thought of a kingdom without a king did not set well with the Catholic south. They opened up the case once again for kingship, and sought out suitable candidates across Europe.
A foreign king was enough to repel most Provinces from the idea. One too many foreigners ruled the Netherlands. In the end, the Staaten-General did something unprecedented in most European nations. They voted on the matter. Seven Provinces were for Republicanism, seven were for Monarchy, while three abstained from voting. Liege was holding out for which side would respect the Bishop’s position, while Limburg and Brabant remained undecided.
They could be brought to vote for Monarchy, but not for a foreign king. If one would assume the as-of-yet unbuilt throne, he must be through-and-through Dutch. All voters knew the issue must be settled quickly. With Spain out of the Netherlands, there was no longer an outside force holding the Provinces together. Without a common goal, the Netherlands would splinter and decay into civil war. The Duke of Brabant stood up before the Staaten-General at the height of the crisis, and declared that the Provinces needed a symbol of unity, and only a king could bring that. Who would be king, his fellow nobles asked. ‘Would you pick James of England and Scotland?’ ‘Or perhaps the Prince of Hesse?’ ‘Maybe the Tsar of Russia?’ ‘Or just maybe you want the crown for yourself.’ In his heart, the Duke might have been tempted, but he stood before the jeers and spoke. "Not I. There is only one man I can think of who all of the Provinces would stand behind.’
King Maurice I1
The classic definition of compromise; a decision that nobody likes, but everyone could live with, though Maurice of Orange2 did not fully fall into this category. He had his supporters in the Staaten-General, as well as his opponents. One of those opponents was in fact, the Duke of Brabant. Why did the Duke nominate a rival? For starters, he knew all the Dutch would never accept himself as king. Maurice was popular with the people. He was the one leader that the Dutch press claimed single-handedly drove the Spanish from the Netherlands.
His opponents agreed to make Maurice king simply because Maurice did not want the job. His apparent lack of ambition sat well with Provinces looking to preserve their rights. Maurice would be king, but a constitutional one, answerable before the Dutch parliament. In most ways, he would have even less power than the King of England, James I. However, the nobles did not take Maurice’s wishes into account. Had his father lived long enough, the assembly would have insisted William become king. As their heir to his lands and titles, not to mention his legacy in creating a free Netherlands, Maurice was the natural choice.
At first, like his father, Maurice refused the offer. Commanding a combined Dutch army, with the Spanish breathing down their necks, was hard enough. Ruling an entire nation of Dutch, each with their own opinion, and without outside threats, struck him as an impossible task. Throughout the year 1610, the United Provinces remained without a king, a grew increasingly divided. Hollanders wondered why they should listen to Luxembourgers. Zeelanders refused to speak with Flanders. And the Calvinist were lighting fires under everyone who was not a Calvinist.
By 1611, seeing the disunity of the nation he fought so hard to create, Maurice relented and accepted the crown. Though the United Provinces would have a secular government, it was the Bishop of Liege who crowned Maurice on March 14, 1611. When asked by what name he would be known, Maurice contemplated taking up the name of his father. In a sense, William the Silent is the patron saint of the Dutch state, and Maurice decided he was not worry of the name William I.
The Coronation was an attempt by one of Maurice’s enemies to curry favor with the new king. And true to his word, Maurice never interfered in the spiritual affairs of Liege or its Bishop. Maurice was crowned Maurice I, King of the United Provinces of the Netherlands before he had a palace from where to reign, or the country as a whole even had a permanent capital.
The Capital
Much debate raged about where the Staaten-General should convene. Naturally, each Province decided it was the best place to from where to manage affairs of state. The Staaten-General failed to agree upon anything, how could they possibly decide which Province would have the honor of hosting them. Some called for a rotational schedule, each year the assembly would meet in a new Province. The cost of shipping the government from city to city exceeded the noble’s plans.
As his first act as king, Maurice I was asked to decide where the assembly should met. After all, he was king, and would preside over the Staaten-General, and how could he be expected to lead a nation if he could not decide from where to lead. Amsterdam was his first choice, given the importance of the trading center, especially after the damage sustained to Antwerp. Maurice struck down the idea quickly, not wanting to give too much power to the city.
Throughout 1611, he sent commissions to various cities across the Provinces. They would scout the city, determine its suitability to house a growing governing bureaucracy. Several cities were on his first list, and systematically Maurice crossed each one off his list. After months of investigation and study, Maurice settled upon a town just north of Delft, his own home. The new capital of the United Provinces. By 1618, all the institutions of government would move into its new home in the Hague. The Hague turned out to be an agreeable location, a place the Staaten-General convened many times, dating back to 1584.
The New Staaten-General
In 1612, the Staaten-General itself received an overhaul. Established during the Fifteenth Century, the Staaten-General was supposedly a tricameral establishment. After the Pacification of Ghent, the clergy lost all its political power, though its chamber continued to exist despite secularism. Clergy combined with nobility easily outvoted the Third Estate, despite the fact the former represented about one percent of the population.
Even after the United Provinces became a Monarchy, Republicanism would not die. In various parts of the Provinces, the people took it upon themselves to elect mayors, militias elected commanders, and even Maurice was elected, same as his father before. The concept of democracy terrified the Stadtholders. The very idea of the ‘ignorant masses’ having their say on subjects beyond their comprehension was appalling.
Upon abolishing the clergy’s Estate3, the Staaten-General was reorganized into two Chambers. The First Chamber, or to use an English term, ‘House of Lords’, would consist of the Stadtholders and Lords of the Provinces. They would control affairs of State and the Provinces. Declaring war, ratifying treaties, setting tarriffs and budgeting for the year, none of these the nobility would trust to the commoners. However, what was the point in gaining freedom, if the populace lacked self-determination. The Second Chamber, a house of the people, would consist of electorates, whom would serve for five years, from the Provinces and cities represented within the Staaten-General. They would decide upon laws concerning the daily lives of the people.
Elections
The first elections for the Second Chamber occurred in April of 1613. Unlike today’s elections, these early elections ranged from bribery to drunken brawls. The average Netherlander was hardly qualified to run for office, nor did they have the resources to compete with the merchants who would naturally fill the niche as community leader in the Seventeenth Century United Provinces. Out of the two hundred Chambermen, only a handful were farmers, fishermen and artisans. Thirty lawyers and doctors grabbed seats in middle-sized cities.
The big cities, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Antwerp and so on, fell into the hands of wealthy merchants and shareholders of overseas trading companies. Campaigning in the early days was a rather straightforward affair, and seldom involved candidates explaining why they were the right choice to represent the people. More often than not, those running for office would enter a pub and buy everyone a round of beer, and reminded the constituents of their name as they down their mugs.
Most of the time, many of the merchants won by default. In the case of Rotterdam, Frederick van Haarlem was both well known and respected, a natural born leader. The average Netherlander looked up these merchants as living symbols of success. The wealthy merchant is considered pinnacle of a mercantile society, a goal that every man who spoke Dutch strove. In contrast, most merchants wanted a say in government, especially laws passed concerning tariffs and taxation.
Not every city had a clear cut leader. Amsterdam was renown for some of the most violent election campaigns in Dutch history. Two of the largest companies in the world headquartered in Amsterdam; the Dutch East India Company, and the South Atlantic Company. Both were formed during the twilight days of the Forty Years War, in order to better manage the new colonies the United Provinces would acquire.
In most elections during the Seventeenth Century, both companies expended large amounts of capital to buy votes. In the beginning of the United Provinces, suffrage only extended to land-owning men over the age of twenty-five. If anybody attempted to buy every vote in the Twenty-first Century, an era of universal suffrage, would bankrupt even the mighty East India Company. Candidates competed in pubs, markets and churches for the attention of the voters. Supporters flocked to their favorite, and the elections became so divisive that it wore away at lifelong friendships.
One of the bloodiest elections was the Election of 1628. Supporters of both East India and South Atlantic representatives were so divided that they no longer ate at the same inns, or drank at the same pubs. On the night of February Twenty-seventh, the two crowds spilled out into the street at the same time. Each group spent the evening drinking in pubs on opposite sides of the street, and by nightfall were far from sober. At first, the confrontation was nothing more that an exchange of taunts and insults, until somebody in the South Atlantic camp fired into the opposing crowd.
More than a few Dutch were armed when near the docks in Amsterdam. It was a rough neighborhood, prone to mugging, theft and impressment. After the initial exchange, three of the East India supporters lay dead, and four more wounded. That did not stop the South Atlantic camp from descending upon them with fist and foot. After beating the opposition, the South Atlantic voters moved on to set fire to East India pubs. The confrontation soon turned to a riot, with non-voters entering the fray, looting shops that either side already trashed. Some South Atlantic supporters even approached East India ships, threatening the cargo. The ship’s captain called out his marines to drive off the mob. In those days, the Dutch East India Company was not the world power it is today, but their soldiers were well trained and many veterans of the Forty Year’s War.
The riot died down by morning, but by nightfall, enough alcohol filled the voters to ignite the riot once again. The Count of Holland called forth his militia to put down the riot. Out of the numerous issues dividing the Dutch; religion, class and regional pride, nobody ever expected the election of two company’s candidates came close to sparking civil war. Holland’s own provincial assembly passed numerous laws to control elections, including establishing of a city constabulary for Amsterdam. Constables tripled their patrols during election time, and had authority to break up any night-time meeting exceeding more than three persons. The law is still technically on the books, but need for police monitoring of elections long since grew obsolete.
The Dutch East India Company
In 1602, the Staaten-General granted a twenty-one year monopoly to the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The VOC had its beginnings in the various trading companies during the Sixteenth Century. At the time, a company was little more than a group of investors gathering together, pooling resources, and funding a trading expedition to the Far East. In 1596, a group of Dutch merchants decided to circumvent the Portuguese monopoly. A four ship expedition, lead by Cornelis de Houtman made contact with Indonesia. On Banten, the main pepper port of western Java, the Dutch clashed with both Portuguese and natives. Over the course of the voyage, conflict claimed nearly half the crew, however, the expedition returned to the Netherlands with enough spices for an impressive profit.
Normally, this would be the end. The investors would liquidate the company and take their profits. At the time, trade routes were constantly threatened, and investors were not willing to risk their gains by pressing their luck on another expedition. In the case of the VOC, the profit was so much, the investors decided to not liquidate, but rather fund another, larger expedition in 1598. Again expeditions were funded for 1599, and 1600, though eight ships were lost, the expedition earned a four hundred percent profit for the lucky investors.
In 1603, the first Dutch trading post in Indonesia was established in Banten. By 1605, the Portuguese were driven from the East Indies by superior Dutch firepower. Another post was established in 1611, at Jayakarta, named Batavia after the legendary founders of the Dutch nation. The trading post thrives and grew, fortified by 1619, and eventually transforming into the modern day Javanese capital of Jakarta. A year earlier, the VOC established their own Governor-General to enable firmer control of their Asian affairs.
Though the modern VOC is the most powerful and wealthiest corporation in the world, its first incarnation’s power exceeded it. The monopoly granted to it by the Dutch government gave the VOC the right to not only establish its own navy, but to mint its own coins, sign its own treaties and even form its own military alliance. Over the span nearly two hundred years, up to the American Revolution, the VOC competed, and occasionally engaged in open warfare, with the British East India Company. Only after Chittagong fell in 1782, did the VOC dominate India. Ironically, after its greatest victory, the VOC faced bankruptcy and an uncertain future.
Guilders
In 1602, the most influential currency in the history of humanity came into existence; the Dutch Guilder. At its inception, one Guilder divided into twenty Stuiver, which divided into eight Duit, and again into sixteen Penning. The complex arrangement of fractions still gives accountants nightmares. In today’s world, with decimalization virtually everywhere, it is difficult to contemplate just what the Staaten-General and the Dutch banks were thinking when the Guilder was first introduced. The only non-decimal system widely used is the clock, and that came out of twenty-four was divided by twelve, six, four, three, two and one, and easily understood system that even the Ancient Egyptians understood.
However, King Maurice was not an Egyptian, and he did not have time to waste on complex numerical equations pertaining to financial transactions. The fractions had to go, and as his first edict, he commanded the Staaten-General do something about it. Maurice proposed the decimalization of currency well over a century before the metric system came into use. Instead of twenty, eight and sixteen, the new currency would be divided into either; ten Decs, one hundred Cens, and one thousand Mils. For the new names, the average Netherlands simply supplanted to old name, fore example, a Dec was called a Stuiver.
An issue this big required both Chambers to vote. The First Chamber insisted currency was the domain of the state, while the Second Chamber insisted it was the people who must suffer any changes. The chancellor of the Second Chamber demanded that his King have the issue voted on by both chambers. In England, if anyone from the House of Commons made demands from James I, they likely ended up in more trouble than they dreamed possible. Maurice I might not have been pleased by his chancellor’s tone, but he did see the legitimacy in his argument.
The nobility passed the law swiftly through the First Chamber, with only a few opposing. In the Second Chamber, the Act of Standardization of the Guilder hit a roadblock. Both the Banks and the Companies owned many members of the elected government. Changing from tradition denominations into this radical decimal system would take years and cost both parties a fortune. The banks would suffer the most. They already minted coins of carefully measured quantities of silver and gold. TO have a Stuiver all of a sudden worth twice what it was, made no sense, neither did the sharp drop in value of the Penning. The same chancellor who demanded the vote, also opposed it. He was a well known for living deep in the Bank of Amsterdam’s pockets.
By April of 1613, the King forced the issue before the Second Chamber. He called for a vote, where a simply majority of fifty percent plus one would pass the bill. He pleaded for the representatives to vote yes, if for no other reason than a future standardization would cost far more than on now. Three days passed in which each representative took the floor and gave his reason that his colleagues should vote either yes or no. In the end, the yes vote won by fifteen votes, though it would be many years before the new currency completely phased out the last.
King Frederick I
On April 23, 1625, the United Provinces lost their King. Maurice’s death was sudden and shocking, when on a horse ride early in the morning, his horse was spooked and threw him to the ground, breaking his neck. For his day, Maurice lived a long life, and for his times, it was indeed a very eventful one, but his death threw the United Provinces into somewhat of a constitutional crisis. Who would succeed Maurice to the throne?
Maurice had two children, both to mistresses and both illegitimate. By law, only an offspring born to a wife was permitted to inherit their father’s holdings. Maurice had no such heir. Some in the Staaten-General called for the Provinces to become an elected monarchy, such as the Vatican or Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. That begged the question, who would be nominated, and by whom. After various votes in the Second Chamber, especially the Act of Standardization, none of the members of the First Chamber wanted a king who was owned by either the Bank of Amsterdam or the VOC.
The search for an heir did not last long. The Staaten-General approached one of Maurice’s still living half-brothers, Frederick Henry van Oranje. Born to the fourth wife of William the Silent, about six months before his untimely death, the younger Prince of Orange happened to be the protégée of Maurice. Trained in arms by his older brother, Frederick Henry proved himself nearly as good a general as his brother, commanding elements of the rebel army during the Dunkirk campaign and again at Brussels and Mons. While in the First Chamber, he proved himself a superior politician and statesman. Best of all, Frederick Henry was married, to Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, just months before his brother’s death. He would provide what Maurice could not, a legitimate heir to the throne and the start of a royal dynasty that prevails even today.
After Maurice was entombed at the family mausoleum in Delft, Frederick Henry was crowned King Frederick I by the Bishop of Liege. What started out as a way to curry favor soon turned into a tradition spanning the history of the United Provinces. Every monarch, with the exception Maurice II, would be crowned by the Bishop in the cathedral at Liege.
Land Reclamation
One of Frederick I’s acts happens to be the one with the longest ranging consequence. Centuries before, Hollanders, Zeelanders and various Dutch cities across the Netherlands battled against great rivers and swamps. Over the course of decades, marshes were drained, rivers dammed and the mighty North Sea held back. By the time of Frederick I, all the land above the sea was dry and utilized. Frederick I decided to go farther.
The County of Holland decided to go farther than simply holding the sea back. They would push the North Sea outwards. In the first act of land reclamation, less than a square kilometer of the sea was blocked off by sea walls and dikes, then systematically drained. Their attempt to claim more living space cost years worth of effort and funding. The Netherlands would grow over the centuries, one of the few countries to literally expand its boundaries.
The Thirty Years War
In 1618, war boiled over in the Holy Roman Empire. Protestants in the Kingdom of Bohemia, concerned their religious rights would be revoked in the face of their new king, took up arms in support of the Protestant contender Frederick V, elector of the Palatinate. Normally, a conflict within the bordering, and disunited Empire would cause the Hague no grief. However, by 1636, France invaded the Empire in its quest to destroy the Protestant Reformation. A hundred years too late to make a difference in the spiritual future of Central Europe, all the invasion did was disrupt trade along the Rhine River.
The United Provinces would not go to war over another nation religious turmoil, but it would wage war to defend trade. When French, along with a contingent of Spanish mercenaries invaded Luxembourg, and laid siege to the city, the Staaten-General declared war upon France. Frederick I, learned much from his brother in the art of war, and broke the siege within two weeks, driving the French across the Rhine.
Simply expelling the French was not enough to satisfy the Provinces. As long as France remained poised along the Rhine, it would threaten inland Dutch trade. It was feared that Spain, recovered after its defeat decades earlier, may use some of the Habsburg holdings in Germany as springboards of invasion. In 1641, Frederick lead the Dutch army across the Rhine, attacking the Spanish and French at their stronghold in Koln.
After three months, Frederick forces Koln to surrender. As part of the conditions of surrender, the Spanish were expelled from Germany, and the French were forced across the Rhine. The future king, Louis XIV would be content at the Rhine, for he would declare that same river the natural boundary of France, and launch several invasions of the southern Provinces. The Thirty Years War ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. The United Provinces received no territorial gain, but their trade along the Rhine remained secure until England passed the Act of Navigation in the 1660s.
The Colonies
At the same time Holland was expending so much effort to capture a small piece of the sea floor, the rest of the Dutch people spread across the globe. Colonies taken from the defunct Portuguese Empire were immediately put to use by enterprising Netherlanders. Sugar from the New World, spices from the Indies, and grain from North America and South Africa, were soon flooding into ports such as Amsterdam.
All the imports were not so beneficial. With the acquisition of Brazil, and Angola, the so-called Dutch Empire inherited one of humanity’s greatest banes; slavery. During the Seventeenth Century, Amsterdam had the dishonor of being the biggest port of slavery in Europe. More slaver ships were registered in the United Provinces than any other nation. The same Dutch who fought forty years for their freedom were quick to subjugate and exploit.
Brazil
In 1605, following the successful invasion of Brazil, merchants in Amsterdam formed the
Dutch South Atlantic Company. The initial goal of this company was to ship massive quantities of sugar, white gold, into Dutch ports. In the following year, the Staaten-General granted the South Atlantic Company a twenty-year monopoly on all trade in Brazil, along with the responsibility of administrating the colony in Brazil and Angola.
An ocean apart, both colonies share a common thread. Though Angola was not fully exploited until the Nineteenth Century, its people were already victim to profit-seeking companies. The largest, and most lucrative crop in Brazil, sugar, required an enormous amount of manpower to cultivate. Indentured servants from the Provinces, which served farms and plantations in New Amsterdam well, did not flourish in the tropical climate. Too many would-be colonist from Northern Europe fell victim to the Brazilian jungle.
Logic dictated that the only people who could survive jungle climate, were jungle men. Most of the natives in coastal Brazil were already dead, or severely depleted due to diseases brought in from Europe. Like the Europeans had little defense to Yellow Fever, the natives had no defense to Small Pox. In an event that would repeat itself across the Americas, more than half the native population would die with each outbreak.
Portuguese plantations solved the problem by importing workers from Portuguese possessions along the western African coast. After the Treaty of Calais, the largest producers of slaves fell into English control. In order to expand newly established Dutch sugar, tobacco, cocoa, coffee and later cotton, plantations, the South Atlantic Company, as well as transporting their goods to market for a reasonable profit, were more than happy to import labor.
Slavery made the South Atlantic Company very wealthy, and eventually lead to its downfall. The life of a slave, began in tribal Africa. When tribes waged war, they, like the Romans, Greeks and various ancient Mediterranean societies, would enslave the defeated foe. As such, battles tended to be fierce, since the loser, assuming they were not lucky and killed outright, were in for a long and painful life.
After conquest and enslavement, the victorious tribe would march their captives down to the coast, to one of the various trading posts. Luanda served as the South Atlantic Company’s trading hub for Angola. Thousands of slaves encountered the first day of the rest of their lives here. In exchanged for their own brethren, the slavers would receive fabrics, iron tools, weapons and luxuries found nowhere in southern Africa. In today’s world it is impossible to fathom trading one’s fellow man for a simple iron hatchet.
To maximize profits, and with no consideration to their cargo, the Company crammed as many slaves into cargo holds. Often there was just enough room for a slave to lay down. No more than five hundred millimeters would exist between one bunk and the next. Each morning, handlers would enter the foul holds, filled with the stench of death, and check on the cargo. Often slaves did not survive the night. Those were unshackled and unceremoniously tossed overboard, into the waiting jaws of shark. There was always sharks.
With the dead disposed of, the live were kept living. When a slave refused to eat, handlers would go as far as knocking out their teeth and forcing gruel down a tube and into their stomachs. For over a month, slaves endured the inhuman conditions. The lucky died, the rest arrived at port, where the true suffering began. Paraded before auctions, with as much consideration as a prize horse or bovine, slaves were bid upon. Female slaves faced an especially miserable life, subject to the whims of their new owners, and worse yet, their slave drivers.
The Dutch populace where blind to this suffering before monks exposed it during the early Eighteenth Century. Before the Enlightenment, it was doubtful any of them would care about the suffering across the ocean. As long as their houses were filled with previously unknown luxuries, coffee, chocolate and sugar, they were content. As long as the population was content, the Second Chamber felt little motivation to change.
A more pressing matter was what to do with thousands of Portuguese colonists. For the most part, the European population consisted of mostly men, who would marry native woman. It was roughly the same proportion as Spain in Mexico and Inca. Portuguese did not venture to Brazil to start over or raise families, they did so to grow rich, return home then settle down. The United Provinces, under the command of Governor van Bohr, Count of Natal, left a sizable army in the colony.
The question as to what to do about so many men who were hostile towards Dutch rule remained at the top of the Count’s list of concerns. The Dutch came to Brazil, not only to grow rich, but to start their lives over. Many were displaced by the Spanish during the Dutch revolution, and later by the Thirty Years War. Most found their ports of call in Natal, Recife, Salvador and Mauristadt. The opened shops, started farms, and brought with them comforts from home, including tulips.
Over the course of decades, the Portuguese Question essentially solved itself. With years, the Dutch-speaking population outnumbered the Portuguese. In order to do business, the Portuguese had little choice but to learn Dutch (or hire a translator). When Dutch woman arrived, the Portuguese quickly remembered some of the comforts of home. They intermarried with the newcomers, and were subsequently assimilated.
New Amsterdam
In 1609, under contract with VOC, Henry Hudson set sail to the New World in search of a shortcut to the Indies. Whomever could find the fabled Northwest Passage would have a decisive advantage in the spice trade. Sailing the Halve Maen (Half-moon) past Manhattan Island, what Hudson found was not a passage across the continent, but many tribes of natives along with a wealth of fur. Hudson named the waterway the Mauritius River, in honor of the hero of the Forty Years Wars.
Upon arriving home, Hudson did not return with new of a passage, but rather a land wealthy in beavers. At the time, beaver pelts were prized in Europe, because the fur could be ‘felted’ to make waterproof hats. In following the following year, 1611 to 1614, expeditions surveyed and charted the region between the thirty-eighth and forty-fifth parallel. These expeditions entitled the charters to a five year monopoly as per the rules set down by the Staaten-General. Several trading posts were established, the furthest one Fort Orange, now the city of Albany, near the modern day state borders of New Amsterdam and the Iroquois Confederacy.
Fort Amsterdam, established in 1615, quickly grew into the city of New Amsterdam. According to legend, the Dutch purchased Manhattan Island from the natives for sixty guilders worth of beads. At the mouth of Mauritius River, it was a normally ice-free harbor throughout the year. As well as hordes of trappers, the New Amsterdam Company soon opened land on Manhattan to settlers from back home. The first families arrived at Fort Amsterdam in 1624, followed by a second wave of families the following year.
The early years of the colony, trade with the natives dominated the economy. As they would in Angola, the Dutch would trade common items of the United Provinces for the goods they sought. In this case, instead of enslaving hundreds of thousands of humans, business led to the extermination of the beaver throughout the region. By 1626, the colony elected its first governor, Peter Minuit. During the building of New Amsterdam, the Mohawk-Mahican war further north forced many settlers in Upper New Amsterdam down to the easily defensible island. With the threat of Indian wars spreading to the city, New Amsterdammers built a wall of stone and clay. In the process, they failed to predict expanding population. Within a decade, built up area appeared north of the wall. The wall was hence demolished, but its existence gave name to one of the wealthiest streets in the world; Wall Street.
By the 1640s, the beaver population in the Mauritius River Valley thinned to the point where profits of the colony became threatened. A timber mill was built upon Governor’s Island, in hope that lumber could supplement some of the lost income. By 1648, settlers expanded beyond New Amsterdam to found neighboring settlements of Haarlem, Staaten Island, and vast orchards sprout along the banks of the river.
Wheat from Long Island and apples and pears from Nassau poured through the port of New Amsterdam and were soon shipped eastward across the sea. In the case of the fruit, it was quickly fermented and transformed into brandy, the only practical way to transport fruit in the day. With the devastation waged across Germany during the Thirty Years War, where nearly thirty percent of the population was wiped out, the Netherlands were desperate for food. Brazilian colonists were more interested in cash crops than foodstuffs. New Amsterdam profited greatly by Brazil’s greed. By the First Anglo-Dutch War, New Amsterdam spread its borders to encompass all the lands between the Delaware and Connecticut Rivers, right smack between two English Colonies; Plymouth and Virginia.
Ceylon
In the waning days of the Forty Years War, the Kandyan Kings of Ceylon found themselves subject of the Portuguese King. Portugal brought with them their culture, and imposed both language and religion upon. Ceylonese nobility were educated by Portuguese teachers. The Kandyan court had Portuguese advisors. Portugal arrived claiming to come in peace; the naivete of the natives made it possible for the foreigners to become the masters.
The Ceylonese were very unhappy about losing their freedom and lands to the Portuguese. When Dutch ships arrived in force in 1607, the natives thought them as nothing more than more foreigners. When the Dutch landed and communicated with the King of Kandy for an alliance against the Portuguese. King Rajasinghe immediately seized at the chance to rid his land of his hated masters. With much of the Portuguese Navy depleted from battling the VOC and other Dutch traders, defending their holding on Ceylon proved impossible. By 1609, the Portuguese were out, and the VOC had in their hands a treaty with the Kandyan King, paving the way for trade and eventual colonization.
The natives preferred the Dutch infinitely over the Portuguese. Where the Portuguese came to impose their ways, the Dutch were simply interested in trade. As per the Treaty of Kandy, the VOC would defend the Kandyan people from foreign invasions, in return for exclusive rights to export native spices. The influx of many Netherlanders concerned the natives at first, but once it was made known the Dutch would respect the native ways, the newcomers were tolerated.
Most of these newcomers, totaling two thousands, hailed from Antwerp. During the Thirty Years War, the French never gained a foothold in the Netherlands, but they managed to raid repeatedly. Their favorite target was Antwerp. Thousand of Netherlanders died in the raids, and thousands more fled, some to Brazil, some to New Amsterdam, and some to the East. The sad saga of the Antwerp Diaspora would continue until the Seven Years War, in the middle of the Eighteenth Century.
From the port of Columbo, the VOC not only administered Ceylon, but also various posts on the Indian Mainland taken from the Portuguese. Chiefly among these was the Port of Goa. The Dutch would do little to India until the following century, the settlers preferring Ceylon and Formosa over the crowded subcontinent. Trade did bloom, and with the space of two decades, the VOC gained a monopoly over all trade in southern India.
Java
In 1603, the VOC established its first trading post on the island of Java. Their sole goal, which they achieved within two decades, was complete domination over the cinnamon trade. Cinnamon, a popular spice in Europe, made it possible for trading expeditions to return with four or more times the amount of profit required to fund them. Such wealth would make any measure worth the risk.
In 1604, the VOC did battle with the British East India Company, killing many sailors. Competition between the two companies would continue to be brutal, leading to the Amboyna massacre, where ten English, and ten Japanese sailors were arrested and tried for treason by the VOC. How one could commit treason against a company it did not even work for was never made clear. The English were not the exclusive target of attack. In 1619, Governor-General Jan Pieterszoon led a force of nineteen ships to storm Jayakarta, burn out the natives, and establish Batavia atop the ashes.
Java was never a popular destination for settlers during the Seventeenth Century. Its tormenting heat and endemic disease kept all but the merchants away. The VOC established posts all along the Javanese coast, using these to dominate trade. They saw little reason to conquer the interior, when they could just control the access ports for trade. The VOC gained its cinnamon trade and soon carried the spice to Dutch ports and beyond.
Formosa
In 1624, the VOC established the first European settlement upon Formosan soil. After establishing Tayoan City, the VOC discovered that no legitimate nation existed on the island. The VOC used the aboriginals to hunt the Sika deer that inhabited the island, eventually leading to its disappearance in the wild. Hides of the Sika were valued as leather by samurai in construction of their armor.
The purpose in colonizing Formosa was to open up trade with both China and Japan. In construction of Fort Zeelandia, and further cultivation of mulberry plantations, the VOC imported large number of Chinese workers from Fujian province. The Dutch further employed the Chinese to work sugarcane fields and rice paddies. The sugar they exported to China and Japan, the rice they used to feed Formosa.
The VOC ruled the island like a legitimate government. It set up a system of taxation for the natives, which in turn paid for building of an infrastructure. The VOC schools taught a romanized script of the native language. While the VOC employed Chinese, the VOC Dutch employees hired on many native woman and children to work as servants in their growing manors in both Tayoan and the new posts at Taipei.
Pirates operating out of the South China Sea plagued Ming, Manchu and various European traders for decades. The first attack on a VOC fleet, three ships, was also their last. The VOC amassed ships from as far as Ceylon into a fleet of nearly one hundred ships, manned by well trained sailors and marines. From 1641 to 1644, the VOC cleared out the pirates, island by island. Over the ensuing decades, pirates around the world soon learned to avoid the VOC flag.
Dutch culture influenced the natives, but native cultures from Capestaat to Formosa influenced the United Provinces. The VOC valued merit over any family connections in the Netherlands. VOC ships hired sailors from their colonies, sometimes for lifelong employment, sometimes just for the voyage to the next port. Over the course of three decades, Buddhist monks from Ceylon worked their way across the Dutch Empire. Upon arriving in the United Provinces, the first Buddhist temples were built just outside of Amsterdam. Their monasteries would soon expend from the fjords of Norway into the mountains of Sardinia.
Rising Power in Europe
With control over a large portion of trade between Europe and the outside world, the United Provinces were soon on the rise. Their army was still no match for the full might of France of Sweden, but their wealth gave them influence over many princely courts. The Netherlands preferred to expand through trade and negotiating. During the course of the 1640s, Frederick I opened up a series of negotiating with Christian IV and the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway.
Union of Kopenhagen
A treaty of alliance between Denmark-Norway was Frederick I’s goal near the end of his life. The growing power of Sweden threatened Dutch trade in the Baltic. Sweden’s navy was no match for the United Provinces, at least not for the time being. By allying with Denmark-Sweden, Frederick hoped to contain Sweden. With bases in the Danish Isles, the Dutch could strike at Swedish positions across the Baltic Sea.
Just weeks before the death of Frederick I, his only son, William, was wed to the daughter of the Danish King, Christina of Denmark. The ceremony was a happy one, soon followed by a sorrow. In August of 1647, Frederick I died of natural causes. He worked most of his later life away, often before sunrise until after sunset. Frederick is known as the hardest working king in Dutch history. Since William was legitimate, he immediately ascended the throne.
When asked which name he would take, he chose his own, but he refused the addition of The First. William hailed his grandfather, William the Silent, as the spiritual first king of the United Provinces. The new king was crowned King William II. His reign was short with little to distinguish himself. He opposed the Treaty of Münster, only to be overruled by the Staaten-General. In 1650, a smallpox outbreak spread across Holland, eventually working its way into the Hague. William II died of smallpox, just one week before the birth of his only son, also named William.
Smallpox infections spread across Europe, infecting Kopenhagen as well. Princes Frederick and George were killed by the epidemic. Though some nationalistic groups in modern Denmark claim that it was Dutch assassins that in fact killed George, using the outbreak as a cover. With Christian IV’s other son, Christian killed in another war with Sweden, all of the princes were dead without heirs. The only candidate available according to Danish law was Christian’s grandson, William. Upon his death, William was crowned King William I of Denmark-Norway, along with his previous title, William III of the United Provinces. With his mother as regent, the United Provinces and Denmark-Norway entered a state of personal union.

The Kiat
April 4th, 2010, 03:26 AM
IV) The Anglo-Dutch Affair
(1650-1702)
King William III
Many princes are destined to become kings before they are born, few actually obtain the title before birth. Such is the case with King William III, though he was not called that until after his official coronation fifteen years later. Throughout his life, William III would be the Dutch monarch most closely tied with England. Two wars would be waged against their neighbors across the North Sea (though Princess Christina was regent through the first war), followed by an alliance through marriage, ending with William III landing in England and installing his English wife as Queen.
By the age of fifteen, Princess Christina died, leaving young William an orphan. Much debate raged within the Staaten-General as what to do next. Was William too young to take the throne? There was some discussion as to appointing a regent until William proved himself capable of taking the crown. That begged the question who would decide when he was worthy? None of the Second Chamber were for keeping William from his rightful throne. A few in the First mused over being regent themselves, and perhaps king.
In the end, it was William’s other holding, the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway that decided the issue. Nobility ranging from Kopenhagen to Oslo to Bergen refused to accept any Netherlander the Staaten-General appointed as their regent. William would be their king. Before the Danes could crown him, the Dutch coronation went forward in Liege, and William III was crowned king of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the King of Denmark-Norway. His first act as King would be to wage was against the English and Scottish in the Second Anglo-Dutch War.
 
Portuguese Restoration
In the second year of William II’s reign, Portugal declared independence from Spain. For eighty years, both Portugal and Spain shared the same king, and following their defeat during the Forty Years War, Spain pressed for full political union. Without its vast colonial holding or wealth in the spice trade, Portugal was powerless before annexation. It was not until the end of the Thirty Years War, and another resounding defeat for Spain did the Portuguese make their move. As soon as the war ended, Portuguese nobles placed Joao IV on the throne in Lisbon.
Portugal was not looking just to regain its status in the brotherhood of nations, but to reclaim its once glorious empire as well. Even if they defeated the Spanish, Portugal was still no match for the Dutch Navy. In decades past, Portugal held an alliance with England, and upon reclaiming its throne, it reactivated that alliance. It was Portugal’s hope that the English Navy could defeat the Dutch, and allow them to regain at the very least, Brazil.
Joao IV did declare was on the United Provinces, though the English held back for the moment. England had its own problems at the moment, and by 1649, a change in government was at hand. Charles I was recently executed, and Oliver Cromwell’s ‘Commonwealth’ was on the rise. The Commonwealth had no use for Iberian problems. After all, why should English blood be spilt for a bunch of Catholics. Puritan England would just as soon add rich Brazil to its own domain.
Portugal’s ambition was not to be. By 1653, Spain all but crushed the rebellion, forcing Joao IV into exile, and eliminated many of the Portuguese nobles who sought to break from Spain. Ironically, by then England and the United Provinces were already at war with each other, alliance or not. Never again would the Portuguese flag wave above the Iberian peninsula. Many Portuguese fled across the ocean, escaping Spanish retribution, to the only part of the world were their language was spoken among freemen; Dutch Brazil.1
Act of Navigation
By the middle of the Seventeenth Century, the United Provinces possessed the largest trading fleet in Europe, which more vessels than most other nations combined. Their maritime based economy gave them a dominate position in Europe. France could invade, but the United Province could close borders, seal trade and strangulate the economy of any nation that may wish to make her an enemy. They profited greatly from the spice trade, and in the colonies taken from Portugal. More over, because of civil war in England, the Dutch were gaining significant influence over England’s own colonies in North America.
With Oliver Cromwell and his Commonwealth victorious, England’s Royal Navy was a force on the rise. During the English Civil War, the United Provinces supported Charles I and the Royalist, and were subsequently outraged by the Commonwealth’s act of regicide upon Charles’s execution. Therefore, Cromwell considered the Dutch an enemy. More precisely, considered William II an enemy.
Upon William’s death, relations changed. The Staaten-General recognized the English Commonwealth, though they refused to expel many Royalist exiled in the Netherlands. The fact that it was the Staaten-General, and not the infant King who made the recognition only encouraged the English. In January of 1651, a delegation of nearly two hundred fifty English appeared in the Hague, to negotiate the conditions on where the United Provinces might unite with the Commonwealth.
Decades before, the Dutch declared that never again shall they be ruled from a foreign capital, though negotiations did drag on for weeks. The English were quite upset upon learning, that after so much effort, the Dutch never had any intention on political union. The delegation left in June, rather disappointed they reported the Dutch as untrustworthy, and a threat to English security. The fact that the United Provinces had no interest in that little island off their shores never entered into the equation. Why would they want to invade a place as atrocious sounding as York when they could stay comfortably in elegant, and classy Amsterdam.
Continuing trouble with the Royalist, and French support there of, prompted England’s parliament to issue letters of reprisal against French ships and French goods on any neutral ships. The United Province might not wage war over territory, but it most certainly would if its trade interests were threatened, and most of the ‘neutral’ ships happened to be Dutch. To further antagonize the Dutch, Parliament passed the Navigation Acts in October of 1651.
Simply put, the Navigation Acts were a declaration of war in all but name. It ordered that only English ships, or ships from the originating country, could import goods to England, thus eliminating any middleman. This measure was almost exclusively aimed at the trade-orientated Dutch, and to put it simply, the Dutch have too much trade and the English were resolved to take it from them. Take it they did. Many privateers and ships of the English Royal Navy used the Acts as a pretext to seize Dutch ships. The English went even as far as to demand that all ships in the English Channel and North Sea dip their flag in salute to English ships. It was one too many insults for a Netherlander to stand.
Maarten Tromp
May 29, 1652, English General-at-Sea Robert Blake commanded a fleet that encountered another Dutch fleet commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp. As per Parliamentary demands, Blake waited for the Dutch to dip their flag in salute. When Tromp did not comply swiftly enough to satisfy Blake, the English ships opened fire, starting the brief Battle of Goodwin Sands. Tromp managed to escort his convoy to safety, but lost two ships in the preceding battle. Born in Den Briel in 1598, Maarten Tromp was the son of an officer in the fledgling Dutch Navy. At the age of nine, Tromp went to see with his father, and was present at the Battle of Gibraltar.
Tromp was captured twice, once when he was twelve, when pirates killed his father, and again when he was twenty-two, this time by Corsairs of the Barbary Coast. Both times Tromp was sold into slavery in Arab markets. The first time he was freed by pity, the second time he impressed the Bey of Tunis greatly with his maritime skills, that the Bey set him free. Between his times in slavery, Tromp supported his mother and sisters by laboring in the Rotterdam shipyards.
In 1622, Tromp was commissioned into the Dutch Navy as a lieutenant. He spent much of his tenor battling pirates in North Africa. HE rose through the ranks, achieving his Admiral ranks by 1637, when Lieutenant-Admiral van Dorp was removed for incompetence. His first years as Admiral were spent blockading Dunkirk and combating a resurgence of pirates plaguing the Dover Strait.
On July 10, 1652, England formally declared war on the United Provinces. In the opening months of war, the English targeted Dutch merchant ships. Any ship sailing alone would not stand a chance. As Admiral, Tromp gathered a fleet of ninety-six ships to do battle with the English privateers. At the Battle of the Kentish Knock, the Dutch attacked the English fleet near the mouth of the Thames, but were beaten back with the loss of too many men.
The loss was a minor setback for the Dutch, but the English perceived that the Dutch were near defeat, so diverted twenty of their warships to the Mediterranean. This division of forces lead to the English defeat by Tromp during the Battle of Dungeness, and further to the destruction of the English Mediterranean fleet in 1653.
Blockade of the United Provinces
In February of 1653, the English were ready to challenge the Dutch again. In one of the turning points in the First Anglo-Dutch War, the English defeated the Dutch during the three day battle, and drove them from the English Channel. For the first time since its formation, the United Provinces were not the dominate navy in European waters. The defeat made it clear to the Staaten-General that they were not invincible.
By March 1653, the Dutch sent delegates, peace feelers, to London. After such a resounding victory, the English Parliament was no longer motivated for a peaceful solution. Why negotiate when they could conquer. Their desires to conquer were stillborn. With the exception of an invasion of Long Island by colonist in Massachusetts and Connecticut, land battles were not an equation in the war. Colonist managed to conquer two-thirds of Long Islands, the parts not inhabited by Dutch settlers, and even kept their new conquest after the war’s end.
In June, the English were again victorious at sea. Following the two day long Battle of the Gabbard, England drove the Dutch out of the North Sea. With North Sea and English Channel closed, the United Provinces found themselves cut off from their colonies, and more importantly, from their trade. Following the battle, England set up a blockade of the Netherlands, a land dependent on agricultural imports.
With trade disrupted, the Dutch economy collapsed, and famine spread across the Provinces for the first time in decades, if not centuries. The Hague sent out more delegates, growing desperate for a peaceful resolution, but again they were rebuffed. Cromwell became more interested in punishing the Netherlands than negotiating. With little choice, the already battered Dutch fleet was forced to attempt to break the blockade.
The Battle of Scheveningen
After pushing the Dutch out of the North Sea, the English set up a blockade of one hundred twenty ships under the command of General-at-Sea George Monck. Any Dutch merchant ship that attempted to slip past the blockade was captured, its cargo confiscated. In a sense, Monck turned out to be one of the most successful pirates in history. Not only did he acquire a large amount of booty, but his blockade led to wide scale unemployment and starvation in Dutch cities.
On August 3, 1653, Admiral Tromp put to sea in the Brederode with a fleet of one hundred ships at the island of Texel, were another twenty-seven ships under the command of Witte de Withe were trapped by the English. Once the English spotted Tromp’s fleet, they turned their attention away from de With, allowing his ships to escape, and later join Tromp.
August 10, the English fleet engaged the combined Dutch fleet off Scheveningen. The battle was short and fierce, with each fleet moving through each other four times, inflicting much damaged. Maarten Tromp was killed early in the battle, by a sharpshooter in the rigging of, reportedly, William Penn’s ship. His death was kept secret from the rest of the fleet, for fear of demoralizing. Morale aside, by the afternoon, the Dutch already lost twelve ships and many more were simply too damaged to continue the fight.
In the end, morale broke anyway and a large group of ships, all under the command of merchant captains, broke formation and fled north. De With attempted to assert order and rally the ships, but to no avail. He was limited to covering their retreat as far as Texel. However, damage was not one-sided. The English, too, suffered many casualties, and lost many ships to damage. So many, that the fleet was forced to give up the blockade and return to port for refit and repair.
Scheveningen was a battle were both sides could honestly claim victory. The English won the day on the tactical field, defeating the Dutch fleet, and hurting them more than they were hurt in turn. However, the United Provinces set out with a simple strategic goal; lifting the blockade. That was exactly what the fleet accomplished, and the Dutch claim a strategic victory. Either way, it was the last major battle of the war.
Treaty of Westminster
Over the course of the war, Oliver Cromwell continued to call for political union between the Provinces and the Commonwealth. He targeted specifically the northern provinces, with the large proportion of Protestants. Unfortunately for the English, they were largely Calvinist, and untrusting to anyone who was not them. At least with the Catholics in the south, the Calvinist were dealing with fellow Netherlanders. Cromwell never did understand the nature of Dutch nationalism.
Cromwell, a little disappointed, set down a peace proposal of twenty-seven articles, two of which were unacceptable; all Royalists were to be expelled, and the personal union with Denmark-Norway was to be ended. Again, Cromwell failed to grasp reality; the Dutch king was only four, and no four-year-old would give up what was his. Cromwell was forced to accept peace minus two articles, and in April 1564, the Staaten-General accepted the proposal. On May 8, 1654, the Treaty of Westminster was signed.
It was truly an inconclusive victory where the English managed to gain two-thirds of Long Island, the two-third not inhabited by enterprising Dutch settlers. However, peace of not, the commercial rivalry between the two nations was not solved, and hostilities continued between colonial companies of the two, both of which had navies and armies of their own. The East Indies were still fought over, with the Dutch companies based in Batavia, the English ones in Manilla.
Humiliation of the Treaty of Westminster, which still had the Navigation Acts in place, along with the loss of trade only fueled bitterness in the Dutch people. There would be peace, for now, but because of no decisive victor, a second war between the English and Dutch was in the making.
Naval Buildup
As soon as the ink on the Treaty of Westminster was signed, the Dutch were already launching an aggressive shipbuilding program. The Staaten-General were well informed about the battles at sea, and decided the lack of Ships-of-the-Line was a key role in the United Provinces failure to obtain victory. They learned hard lessons, and learned them well. Over the following decade, leading up to the second war, the United Provinces built more than a hundred ships dedicated exclusively to war.
Before hand, Dutch warships were little more than merchant ships overhauled and heavily armed, and susceptible to far more damage. Inexperienced commercial captains also proved the weak link in Dutch fleets. Thousand of sailors passed through the naval academies in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp, where a strict discipline and respect for the chain of command was impressed upon them.
The Staaten-General were not the only ones humiliated by the treaty. Thousands of sailors, once believing Dutch mariners best in the world, were infuriated by the humiliation and burned for revenge. Not just revenge for themselves, but they saw it their duty to avenge the insults against national honor. One such officer, a veteran of the First Anglo-Dutch War would rise to leadership and become the most famous admiral in Dutch history.
Michiel de Ruyter
Michiel de Ruyter was born in 1607, in the waning days of the Forty Years War. Little is known about de Ruyter’s early life, except he likely started his life as a sailor around the age of eleven. Such early starts in lifelong careers were not uncommon during the Seventeenth Century. Only today, when one must attended higher educations for the better part of a decade to obtain something that was once apprenticed does such a young start seem odd, even prodigy-like.
The name de Ruyter came from the Dutch word ‘ruyten’ which more-or-less translates into ‘to raid’. De Ruyter was known for this as his work as a privateer, and later on for hunting pirates. During the First Anglo-Dutch War, de Ruyter quickly rose to the rank of Admiral. He commanded a small reserve fleet at the Battle of Plymouth, winning the battle against English Admiral Ayscue, a raider of Dutch merchantmen.
A year before the outbreak of a second war, de Ruyter clashed with the English off the West African coast. One of the articles of the peace treaty involved dipping the flag in salute, one that de Ruyter always ignored. Like many sailors, he never forgave the insults postulated in the treaty. Like many, he spent ten years preparing revenge. De Ruyter continued his raids, expanding his territory into the Carribean. In April 1665, he hit Barbados, followed up by a large scale raid on the pirate den of Port Royale, Jamaica.
March 4, 1665, war officially broke out between England and the United Provinces. The two were evenly matched once various considerations were taken into account. Though England boasted a population twice that of the Provinces, a majority of them fell into the category of broke peasants. The Dutch offset this by a large middle class population. Another factor was the end of the Commonwealth. By 1660, the Stuarts were restored to power. By 1665, the United Provinces’s king finally took the throne. At fifteen, William III might lack the life experience of Charles II, but he hungered to avenge the wrongs against his Kingdom.
The first encounter between English and Dutch fleets occurred at the Battle of Lowestoft, on June 13. Though the resounding defeat was the worst in Dutch history outside of the Battle of Java Sea centuries later, England failed to capitalize on their own momentum. English victories back home were offset by Dutch victories in the Americas. De Ruyter continued to be the bane of English trade.
Four Days Battle
On June 11, 1666, one hundred fifty ships from the English and Dutch navies met near North Foreland for the longest battle in naval history. Eighty-four Dutch ships, commanded by de Ruyter faced seventy-nine ships under the command of Monck. England was under the impression that a French fleet would soon join the Dutch, and acted first to split the forces. The rumor of French intervention prompted Monck to send a squadron of ships to defend the Strait of Dover.
As a result, the Dutch vastly outnumbered the English, yet de Ruyter could not bring the battle to a speedy conclusion. The first encounter between the two navies, Monck targeted the Dutch fleet anchored near Dunkirk, commanded by Admiral Cornelis Tromp, hoping to cripple his force and even the odds. Monck tried to force his enemy onto the hazardous Flemish shoals. The Dutch center, commanded by de Ruyter arrived in time to prevent the younger Tromp’s squadron from being knocked out of action.
Once the Dutch forces formed up, minus a few mishaps of Inexperienced commanders colliding with their neighbors, the English brought out a weapon the Dutch were unaware of. They fired hollow brass shells, filled with highly combustible materials. The shots were devastating to the Dutch, however, lucky for the Dutch, the English fleet had few of these shells due to high cost of production.
Mock retreated on the first night, but the ships of Admiral Harmam drifted into the Dutch lines and were suddenly set ablaze. It was a tactic that dated back to the battle against the Spanish Armada, but did not break the Dutch the same way it did Spain. On the Morning of the second day, Monck attempted to destroy the Dutch by a direct attack. After all, the Dutch during the First Anglo-Dutch War scattered when beaten, why should they not during the Second?
Before the attack could commence, de Ruyter preempted him, by crossing the English line and severely damaging several ships. After a first pass, the red flag was razed, signaling an all-out attack by the Dutch. The ensuing melee caused much devastation between the two fleets. Tromp was forced to transfer his flag four times due to damage caused by his own overzealous assault. De Ruyter held such an advantage in numbers, he sent several ships to escort both damaged and captured ship back to port.
During the second night and the third day, the English retreated westward, with the Dutch in pursuit. Unlike the Battle of Scheveningen, the Dutch captains held rank and the ships held formation. Several English ships were cut off from retreat, and were forced to surrender or be sunk. Even Admiral Ayscue had to surrender to Tromp when one of his men struck the flag. It was the first and last time an English Admiral was captured at sea.
Where the third day was the biggest disaster in the history of the (English/British) Royal Navy, the fourth day could only be worse. Several ships joined Monck, with fresh sailors and a hold load of ammunition. But these few newcomers were not enough to turn the battle, even with de Ruyter’s force shrunk. Many of the English ships engaging in the battle from day one were already out of powder. It was not lack of planning, but rather the English gunners proved more efficient than their Dutch counterparts, and thus extended their ammunition faster.
The English continued their retreat, but several stragglers were boarded, captured and later added to the (Dutch) Royal Navy. With his own ships damaged, though still packing powder, de Ruyter called of pursuit once the English vanished into a fog bank. He would not press his luck and turn victory into a disaster. Though many historians call the Four Days Battle inconclusive, it is certain that after the battle, the English had little chance of forcing their peace on the Dutch.
St. James Day Battle
August 5, English and Dutch navies clashed again near North Foreland, this time they outnumbered the Dutch by one ship. That one ship made it possible for the English to secure victory. It was not a decisive victory, but it did keep de Ruyter from landing Dutch Marines on English shores, at least for the time being. That was de Ruyter’s intention, to land and destroy the English ships while they were under repair.
The English discovered the Dutch sailing into position and engaged them before the Dutch could form ranks. The English scattered many of the Dutch navy, sailing from banks of fog like banshees. The surprise was enough to break the momentum of the Dutch. For most of the day, the two fleets attempted to gain advantage of wind against their foe. By the next morning, the losses were light; England lost one ship, the Dutch two.
However, by now, de Ruyter discovered his position was hopeless and ordered a general retreat. Many of the ships were already scattered and retreated on their own, leaving the Dutch Admiral with a mere forty ships. The English were still in fair shape, and if their Admiral, the Prince of the Rhine, had chose to, he likely could have rolled up de Ruyter and crippled the Dutch. However, he was satisfied by simply humiliating the Dutch Navy.
The Brazilian Expedition
In late 1666, the English considered capturing the Netherlands’ most vital trading post in North America, New Amsterdam. After some consideration, the English Admiralty decided why have a trading post when you could have all the sugar. The planned for an invasion of Brazil, similar to the one lead by van Bohr decades earlier. However, unlike the Portuguese, the Dutch were well prepared for attack against their colonies. Without them, they would have no commodities to trade.
In the Battle of the Amazon Delta, Dutch Admiral, the Count of Natal, lead a small fleet of seventeen warships against a much larger English fleet. However, out of the twenty-six ships, more than half were transports, carrying soldiers and supplies needed for the conquest and occupation of Dutch Brazil. Natal used the strong currents of the Amazon, which extended far into the Atlantic, to carry his force quickly across the English formation. In one pass, the Dutch crippled two English warships, weakening their ability to defend the transports.
Due to the river’s currents, several hours were required to reposition the Dutch fleet. Natal took a gamble on this attack, for it permitted the English enough time to sail out of reach, and perhaps land on the northern coast of Brazil. As it were, Natal took this into consideration, and instead of sailing an arc, decided to intercept the English, knowing they would rush for land.
Five hours later, Natal made another pass at the English, pounded them with broadsides, knocking three more ships out of action, one of which was captures. One Dutch ship was sunk in the course of action. With even less protection for essentially defenseless transports (they could defend themselves against Dutch Marines, but why board them when you could sink them?) The English Admiral opted for retreat.
The Raid on Medway
After having his first attempt thwarted, de Ruyter launched a second attempted landing in England, again English ships in dock were his target. Instead of attempting a one-shot attack, de Ruyter divided his forces, sending the ships of Denmark-Norway north to attack Scottish ports. The Scots were not happy with their own union with England. De Ruyter’s northern force, commanded by Danish Admiral Eirikson, feigned an attempted landing in Yorkshire, which would divide the island. He escorted a number of armed, and unoccupied Danish transports to complete the deceit.
Upon hearing a force scouting near York, Charles II ordered Monck to defend the Yorkshire Coasts. Only when the English were committed to the voyage did de Ruyter move into position. He took a trick from the English book and sailed out of the fog. With sixty-two Ships-of-the-Line, de Ruyter entered the Thames River unopposed. The few English ships on station sailed to engage the Dutch. Only when the fog was blown away did the English see the size of the Dutch fleet. Their target was not York after all, it was London. The remaining English ships sailed up the Thames to bring word of invasion.
With no fleet in sight, several aging merchantmen were sunk in the Thames, an attempt to block any further advance. De Ruyter unloaded some fifteen hundred marines, under the command of the Baron van Ghent. Local English lords called forth militia, knights and anyone who could hold a pike. Their attempt to stop a battle-hardened contingent of Dutch Marines failed miserably. Many of the English peasants fled at the sight of the Marines’ first shot.
Further calls-to-arms rang across most of south-eastern England. Charles II prepared for his own flight from London should it come to that. Reports brought to the English King gave him the impression that fifteen thousand Netherlanders were marching on the capital. Lucky for them, the Dutch were on their way to Kent. The call-to-arms fell on mostly deaf ears. England faced financial troubles after the Brazilian debacle, and many of the sailors and some soldiers have not been paid in months, thus were not overly motivated to risk their lives. As far as they were concerned, whatever was to happen, the cheapskates deserve it.
Five days passed before the Dutch reached Chatham, due to some trouble in landing and navigating the shoals. Alarms were sounded at Chatham Shipyards. Some of the smaller Dutch ships sailed up the Medway on June 12, and commenced attacking English defenses around a large chain spread across the river. Marine artillery opened up on the shipyard shortly afterwards. With little defense in the shipyards, and few sailors to man those ships in drydock, the Dutch Marines advanced after a minimal bombardment.
Dockworkers and shipwrights fled at the sight of Marines. What few militiamen were around merely fired a few shots for the honor of King and Country before retreating. The Marines did not give pursuit, their orders were clear. As soon as the defense was clear, they turned on the shipyard. Once the chain was clear, many vessels of de Ruyter’s fleet sailed into dock. As soon as the gangplanks were lowered, Dutch sailors helped themselves to everything that was not nailed down.
The following day, a general panic struck London. Rumors flew around without restraint. The Dutch were in the process of loading a French army in Dunkirk, and planned to ferry them across the sea. The populous of London were feeling especially vulnerable after the fire that gutted their city a year earlier. The wealthy boarded up their houses, loading their valuables and headed off to their country estates, hoping to escape the full-scale invasion they believed imminent. There was no French army, and the French were not even involved in the war, aside from the occasional mercenary or sailor.
By June 14, the Dutch were through plundering the shipyard. Cannons, shot, powder, salted beef and fish, bullion, coins and anything shinny swiftly vanished from the shipyards and warehouses along the wharf. Drydocks were flooded and English ships towed away by the Dutch. The English flagship, HMS Royal Charles was towed away by de Ruyter as a personal trophy. Dutch sailors and marines manned the captured vessels, often with skeleton crews. Any ships that could not be taken, had their hulls breach and packed full of tinder, before set ablaze. The drydocks themselves were set ablaze, and the piers torched. De Ruyter would not leave a single ship, not even a rowboat, for the English to use.
The raid on the Medway was one of the most brilliant victories in the history of the United Provinces. Sixteen English warships were stolen right out of drydock, and two dozen more were scuttled. It was the Seventeenth Century equivalent of destroying the aircraft on the ground. England could not recover from the raid, and it soon was forced to sue for peace. Charles II still feared invasion. Upon leaving English waters and returning home, de Ruyter is known to have said to the Count of Holland, "Had I known landing would be so easy, I would have brought an army." For his part in the raid, and leading the Dutch to victory in the war, Michiel de Ruyter was granted the title of Marquis of New Amsterdam, along with an estate on Manhattan and lands along the Mauritius River. If the Dutch did invade instead of raid, they might very well have eliminated England once and for all, perhaps even transforming it into another colony.
Treaty of Breda
The treaty was signed in the city of Breda, by England, United Provinces and Denmark-Norway on July 31, 1667. It brought a swift end to the Second Anglo-Dutch War, an end that favored the Dutch victors. The humiliation of Westminster was finally avenged. By the time negotiations began, de Ruyter virtually controlled the seas surrounding Britannia. Despite their decisive victory, William III insisted on lenient terms. He did not want England to spend the next ten years plotting its own revenge.
The first order of business was the repeal of the Navigation Acts, allowing the Dutch to import goods to England and its colonies. Furthermore, the United Provinces secured a worldwide monopoly on nutmeg and cinnamon, forcing the English to give up their operations in the East Indies. The war bankrupted England, and another article of the treaty allowed for England to take out loans from the Bank of Amsterdam along with other Dutch banks at low interest rates, a subject introduced by certain members of the Second Chamber.
The Treaty of Breda did more than end a war, it reversed the face of European Alliances. An amendment to the treaty was hammered out by personal representatives of both William III and Charles II, in which, in return for Dutch support of England against its other enemies, Charles II promised his then five year old niece Mary, to William III. Another ten years would pass before Mary would make her matrimonial voyage to the House of Orange’s estate in Delft. With the signing of the treaty, it would seem that trade and commerce would be safe for the foreseeable future. However, with the passing of Charles II, his son James II would take the throne and immediately begin to welch on England’s end of the deal, and in a generation, the Dutch would return to England.
Rising Tensions
Upon taking the throne, shortly after Charles’s untimely death following the Treaty of Breda2, James II of England tried to back out of many aspects of the Treaty of Breda, including the marriage alliance. A converted Catholic, James II was opposed to having his daughter merry a Protestant king. The House of Orange, along with the United Provinces, was divided between both Catholic and Protestant, yet like the Provinces, it managed to exist without tearing itself apart. William III was a private Protestant, believing his own faith had no business in the affair of the state. The King of England was having the opposite problem with his own parliament; he was only allowed to take the throne as a private Catholic.
Only fear of a Third Anglo-Dutch War, and complete dismantling of England’s overseas empire, forced James II to relent. In 1677, he boarded his daughter Mary on one of the finest ships in the English Navy for a one-way voyage to the United Provinces. The marriage of William and Mary was widely celebrated across the United Provinces and William’s other kingdom, Denmark-Norway. It was seen not only as a marriage between two people, but between two nations. Any offspring of the two would potentially be King of three nations.
After two miscarriages, Princess-consort Mary soon conceived and gave birth to her and William’s only child, Johann Willem, in 1678. Again, the United Provinces celebrated, as did Denmark-Norway, though William I of Denmark-Norway did not address the nobility of Denmark as often as William III of the United Provinces addressed the Staaten-General. He ruled the distant nordic kingdom through a viceroy. However, in England, James II did not welcome the birth. He secretly hoped for the couple to be childless, for now a Netherlander was in line for the English and Scottish crowns.
Tensions were further heightened when France’s Sun King, Louis XIV, turned his eyes towards the southern Provinces. Before he claimed that the Rhine River was France’s natural boundary with the rest of Europe. Only fear of complete blockade, especially following the resounding victory of the Dutch during in 1667, prevented the French from carrying out their designs against the Netherlands. It did not, however, protect various other states along the Rhine.
When war with France appeared inevitable, William III called for his allies across the North Sea to raise an army. As King of Denmark-Norway, William easily razed an army of Danes. However, England was its own country, with its own King. James III refused the pleas, and went as far as to declare the alliance null and void. He claimed that any agreement signed under duress (especially after the Medway raid) was no longer binding.
William could have had James II simply eliminated, for the English King had enough enemies in parliament. However, by 1687, James II already had a son and heir, so removing him would only put another James on the throne, this one with plots to avenge his father’s death. Instead, William III hatched a plan with key nobles of the Firsts Chamber. Not only would he removed James II from the English throne, but would also install his wife, Mary as Queen of England.
The Glorious Revolution
By 1688, James further alienated the United Provinces by forbidding any Englander or Scotlander (not that the Irelanders had much choice to begin with) from serving in the Dutch army. He demanded that many English and Scottish mercenaries be released from service. In total, only one hundred fifty British returned home.
William III knew if he was going to move against James, he would have to do so fast. The French were already preparing to launch an attack into Flanders, and likely aimed at Antwerp once again. In September, the French began to seize Dutch merchantmen in French ports, an act of war in the eyes of the Staaten-General and Dutch trading companies. A Dutch fleet of some eighty warships was assembled to escort thirty thousand men and five thousand horses across the narrowest sections of the North Sea.
Following the Second Anglo Dutch War, the English Navy shrunk drastically. With debts to pay off, the funding for more ships simply did not exist. It left England in the position of second-rate naval power for the next century. Twenty years later, the Dutch did not particularly fear interception by England’s now decrepit fleet. Nonetheless, the Dutch ships made a thorough pass through waters between the Provinces and Britannia before allowing the invasion force to set sail.
Though they suffered through bad weather, they finally made landfall on November 5, disembarking in Torbay, near Brixham. Using lessons learned from the small-scale raids of the last war, the landing went without incident. To his surprise, William was greeted with a show of popular support. William already declared before the Staaten-General and in letters to England’s parliament that he had no desire to take the crown for himself, and that it was his wife, and England’s rightful Queen, who would sit upon the throne.
The question has been asked, why did William become William III of England? England and Scotland spent a better part of the Sixteenth Century locked in civil war. At the center of these struggles, was religion. Always. William III was a Protestant, as per Danish law. Only a Protestant could take the throne of Denmark-Norway, and in that realm, he had to publicly admit his faith. The United Provinces has a strong secular tradition. What one believes is one’s own business, whether they be Catholic, Protestant, or one of the small, but growing Buddhists population.
England simply made their faith too public, going as far as to persecute those who did not view the same world view as the majority. In fact, it was a tyranny of the majority in that respect. To a monarch from the Netherlands, England was simply more trouble than it was worth. Religion aside, it cost the United Provinces a great deal of capital to raise such a large army, and would cost even more to occupy a nation that might not want to be occupied.
Again, before the crowds in Torbay, William renounced any claim to the English crown. England should be ruled by an Englander, thus Mary will be Queen. The crowds did not listen. James II was so detested, they were pleased to have anyone but him on the throne. As soon as his army was organized, William marched inland with eighteen thousand soldiers and three thousand cavalry, the rest fanned out to scout and to hold their landing sites.
Dutch and English armies met on the Salisbury plains on November 19. Almost immediately, James begin to loose any support in his army. Only a few skirmishes, in which English actually won, around Salisbury spilled any blood. The rest of the ‘battle’ consisted of desertion, along with anti-Catholic rioting in London. Hearing of desertion, the English commander, Lord Cornbury, ordered the English Army to retreat. Many soldiers deliberately straggled, just to desert. On the 24th, one of James’s chief commanders, Lord Churchill, defected to William’s side. Two days later, James own daughter, Princess Ann, went over to the Dutch.
By early December, enough of the English Army deserted James, that his wife, and the Prince of Wales both fled to France. James attempted to flee the next day, however was captured by fishermen on December 11. With chaos reigning in London, rioting and looting ruling day and night, many members of Parliament welcomed the arrival of the Dutch Army, with King William III at its head. Parliament itself extended an invitation for William to take the crown. After his attempt to flee his won country, no Englander was likely to follow the rule of James II ever again.
William politely refused, and upon entering London, sent word back to Delft, summoning his wife to London. By the middle of December, with the Army effectively disbanded, England declared for Mary. Many in the English Government debated as to James II’s fate. William interceded on behalf of his father-in-law. If James wishes to leave, then there was no reason why they (England in general) should prevent it. On the 23rd, James boarded a ship in Kent and set sail to rejoin with his wife in France.
Mary arrived in London on January 3, 1689, to much jubilation. Not only did her arrival prevent another round of religious violence, but she permitted Parliament to pass the Exclusion Act, banning any Catholic from taking the English crown. William was staunchly opposed to the law on principle, however not only was he not the King of England, but he was not even English. This was his wife’s nation, and Mary II decided nobody like her earlier namesake, Mary I, should ever be allowed to take the throne. Many Dutch politicians could not help but feel that by effectively banning a whole religious sect from public service, that they have betrayed the ideals of the Pacification of Ghent.
However, Mary was not put on the throne for sake of English personal freedoms, but rather to bring England into compliance with their alliance. War with France was at hand, and the whole adventure into England was launched because William III feared that under James II, England might just side with Louis XIV against the United Provinces. It is called the Glorious Revolution, but there was nothing glorious about it.
The Nine Years War
With Mary II reigning in England and Scotland (with William as Prince-consort), William III prepared to face the French. War with France was a long time coming. After the Thirty Years War, France began to gobble up small states surrounding her, gradually making her way towards the Rhine River. Lorraine, parts of the Saar Valley, and even Strasbourg fell under the sway of Louis XIV. The Catholic Sun King believed that the southern Provinces would welcome the self-proclaimed Defender of the Faith with open arms.
He could not be any more wrong. He failed to understand that what a Catholic Netherlander loved more than his faith was his freedom. In the 1680s, the inhabitants of the United Provinces were the freest people in all of Europe. Gone were the days a feudal lord ruled a village with an iron fist. Instead, the Dutch effectively governed themselves on a municipal level. They elected mayors, councilors and even attended public forums, where the public, not any one lord, would decide what laws and ordinances should be passed.
On a provincial and national level, law-abiding citizens were mostly left alone by officials. The Dutch determined that the best way to contribute to society was by making a profit. The only regulating before the age of Napoleon came in the form of regulating trade between the Provinces. Delegates to the Staaten-General did their best to prevent their neighbors from growing to powerful. Tax collectors were a necessary bane, a functionary to keep the nation alive, and taxation was kept to a bare minimum, just enough to balance the Staaten-General’s books3.
France, on the other hand, the state was everywhere. Louis XIV ruled his kingdom with all the restraint as a Roman Caesar. He claimed divine rights as an excuse for his despotism. In France, lords still presided over their lands, and their serfs. The French people could not up and leave as they pleased, for they were bound by custom and law to the land of their birth. Nor were they allowed independent thought. Anyone who did not conform with the Vatican faced repression, expulsion, and on occasion, extermination.
In violation of the Edict of Nantes, Louis dispersed all Protestant communities within his realm. Huguenots fled to England, the United Provinces, and Germany, bringing with them tales of the brutality of France’s monarch. In total, two hundred thousand French Protestants fled the persecution. Tens of thousands of these refugees found their way into Dutch colonies of New Amsterdam, Brazil, and the VOC’s supply depot of Capestaat. Huguenots were essential in founding the city of Willemsbourg, in southern Brazil on the site that was once the French colony of Henryville, and the Portuguese town of Rio de Janeiro4.
The Nine Years War began in September of 1688 when Louis commanded Marshall Boufflers to invade the Rhineland. Phillippsburg fell on October 30, followed by Mannheim, Oppenheim, Worms, Heidelberg, and the fortress city of Mainz. One city refused to surrender to the thirty thousand man army, and in return, when Coblenz fell, Boufflers ordered it reduced to ashes. By 1689, Louis was master of the Rhine, and a direct threat to Dutch trade throughout the ancient Holy Roman Empire. Even before France rose to this position, they were already impounding Dutch merchantmen in French harbors. That alone compelled William to undertake his landing in England and force the ally into supporting him. If not for such premature seizures, it is entirely possible that a French invasion could have taken the United Provinces by surprise, and with James II refusing to help, it would have dire consequences on the (alternate) history of the Netherlands.
Louis hoped for a quick victory. With the Holy Roman Empire along with the Habsburgs, fighting Turks in the East it should have been easy. The impact on Emperor Leopold had the opposite effect. He recalled army under the Electorate of Bavaria from the Ottoman Front to defend southern Germany. The French failed to prepare for such an eventuality. Realizing this would not be a brief and decisive parade of French glory, Louis resolved upon a scorched-earth policy in the Rhineland.
In March of 1689, Louis selected the cities intended for destruction, starting with Heidelberg. The Count of Tesse torched the city, and on march 8, Montclair leveled Mannheim. Both Oppenheim and Worms were destroyed by the end of May. In June, the Elector of Brandenburg, aided by the Dutch commander, Menno van Coehoorn, besieged Kaiserwerth, and forced it capitulation on the 26th. Charles, the Duke of Lorraine, commanded an army of sixty thousand men, resolved on retaking Mainz. The town yielded on September 8, followed by the surrender of Bonn one month later.
Mons
On May 12, 1689, William III signed the Grand Alliance with the Emperor, with the lofty goal of forcing France back into pre-Thirty Years War boundaries, thus depriving Louis XIV of all his gains. After his losses across the Rhineland, Louis turned France’s attention towards the city of Luxembourg. The Duchy of Luxembourg had the misfortune of standing at a crossroads between great European powers. Luxembourg often appeared out of place in the United Provinces. It lacked the wide-scale commercial success of the other Provinces, and was considered by others as a backwater, a place of quaint little villages and rustic inns.
Backwater or not, it was one of the United Provinces, and an attack on it was an attack on the other sixteen. It was the first city to fall under the guns of Louis XIV, but by far not the last. It held out against siege until 1691, when the Dutch Army, under the command of the Duke of Brabant, lifted the siege and drove the French from the Duchy. As with anywhere in the southern Provinces, the French came forth claiming to be liberators, to free the cities from the oppression of the heretics.
The same was declared at Mons, in 1690. The French, under the command of recently humiliated Boufflers, invested the city with forty-six thousand men. What little defense the city could muster was easily brushed aside. Boufflers marched down the avenues of Mons as if he were the liberator, though not a single Netherlander was safe from his wrath. The first to go where the small population of Buddhists living in the city.
Since the VOC established colonies on Ceylon and Formosa, the peoples of the East were free to travel west, as long as they proved useful to the company. Upon arriving in the United Provinces, monks set forth into the Netherlands, establishing temples in every major city, along with Monasteries in the countryside. Their goal was not to convert the locals, though they would teach to those who wished to listen, but rather to learn all they could about this new land. They studied Europe’s religions, literature, science and arts. Every so often, a monk would return to the East, bringing the treasure of knowledge with him.
The French simply declared the peaceful monks, and any Netherlander who followed their path as heathens, showing them no mercy. Hundreds of monks were slaughtered in Mons when they attempted to nonviolently resist the invasion. Every other Buddhist who could not flee north were given the choice between embracing the Christian God, or meeting that same god in person. Some relented, paying lipservice to the Church, but a few remained defiant to the end, and learned that French were as tolerant under Louis XIV as they were under Charlemagne.
The next to suffer were both Protestant and Jewish populations in Mons. The Jews resisted especially hard, for the United Provinces were the only nation in all of Europe that accepted them as citizens and not aliens. This was their home, and they would fight for it. Those who did not follow both Buddhist and Protestants north, were killed mercilessly. All the bloodshed enraged the Catholic population. They were faithful to their Church, but these were their neighbors being killed. Though the Dutch people pride themselves on tolerance (as well with their business savvy) there were always extremist within a society. These were the only ones to welcome the French with open arms.
Antwerp Under Fire (Again)
After the fall of Mons, the French Army continued its march northward, to the city of Antwerp. Antwerp only recently began to recover from the siege during the Thirty Years War, and before that the Dutch Revolution. The city never regained the glory it knew under the Burgundians, but by 1691, it was just starting to grow into a (minor) commercial center. The locals knew they could not overshadow the colossus that is Amsterdam, but they did not desire such. They only wish to live profitable lives.
Their profits were cut short again in the spring of 1691. Two Dutch armies, one under the command of the Count of Holland, another commanded by Tomas vas Leir, numbering some sixteen thousand men-at-arms, holed up within the city and surrounding areas. Instead of launching a direct assault against fortified strongholds, the French set up a parameter to the south of Antwerp, laden with dozens of cannon. Boufflers was content to starve the Dutch into submission. He could not threaten them, for tales of the atrocities committed within Mons only fueled the resolve of the citizens and defenders.
The siege was only in its second week when it was broken by the King of the United Provinces. William was quite delayed in returning home when James II landed in Ireland and provoked the Irish to rebel. Too many men died and too many resources were expended in keeping his wife’s Kingdom from disintegrating. When William landed, a scant six kilometers down river from Antwerp, he was not alone. Tens of thousands of Dutch and English soldiers were under his command.
The following battle ended in near disaster for the French. Boufflers attempted to hold ground against William’s landing, but in the end, he was forced to sound a retreat. Upon returning to Mons, the French left three thousand of their own dead on the battlefield, seven times as many than the Dutch lost. Though France’s ambitions were stalled in the north for the time being, they engaged and defeated boat Spain and Savoy along the Mediterranean. As much as any Netherlander loathed to admit it, Spain must be kept in the war. If they let them lose, France would turn those forces north.
Anglo-Dutch and French forces clashed repeatedly in the County of Namur. Each battle lacked the decisive edge needed to bring the other side to the negotiating tables. By 1693, Louis XIV had four hundred thousand men in the French Army (at least on paper). Such a large army required large amounts of funding, and France faced an economic crisis. Topped off with crop failures and famine in 1694, France was teetering on the brink of collapse.
Before the Grand Alliance would offer reasonable terms in its peace proposal, William III decided to go on the offensive. By April of 1695, Namur was cleared of all French forces. Mons held out against all attempts at liberation, offering the French a minimal toehold on the United Provinces. William failed to remove the French forces by the time all sides sat down for negotiations at Ryswick. The Staaten-General wished to continue the war until all of the Netherlands were free, but Spain was ready for peace, as was the United Province’s ally, England. The cession of Mons started a tragic chapter in that city’s history. For more than a century to follow, the city would change hands until finally being rewarded to France during the Congress of Vienna.
Treaty of Ryswick
Though called a treaty, it was anything but. At most, it was but a cease-fire, one that would last until Spain fell into dynastic crisis in 1701. The parties involved in the Nine Years War met in Ryswick, near the Hague. By the terms of the treaty, Louis was allowed to keep Alsace and Strasbourg, but forced to give up all claim to Luxembourg. In order to curry favor with Spain (over the upcoming succession question) France evacuated all of its gains in Catalonia. Lastly, though still sheltering James II, who escaped from Ireland, France recognized Mary II as the rightful Queen of England.
Emperor Leopold was the only holdout on the treaty. He desired a continuation of war, to strengthen his own claim to the Spanish Throne. His initial resistance was weakened by the fact that he still was at war with the Ottomans, and could not face France alone. He signed the treaty, and netted a sizable accretion of power. His own son was named King of the Romans, and the chief candidate for the Polish-Lithuanian Throne.
The treaty was signed in October, 1697. The United Provinces, knowing this was a temporary peace at best, increased the size of garrisons and expanded fortifications in the southern Provinces. The biggest question of the day, the of Spanish succession, was not discussed at Ryswick. Perhaps if it had been, war might have been prevented. Within three years, the Spanish King would be dead, and the Grand Alliance would plunge Europe back into war.

The Kiat
April 4th, 2010, 12:57 PM
V) The Changing Face of Europe
(1702-1763)
Spanish Succession
In 1700, only three years since the end of the Nine Years War, Charles II of Spain died, bequeathing all his possessions to Phillip, Duke of Anjou, and grandson of Louis XIV. The only other option than Phillip V, was the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, the Austrian Habsburg cousin of Charles II. As early as 1668, Leopold agreed to a potential partition of Spanish territory between the Habsburgs and Bourbons. However, Phillip was not a party of the agreement, and disregarded treaties of partition.
Louis’s advisors made the case of accepting the Partition Treaty of 1700, as opposed to risking war by claiming the whole of the Spanish Empire. Arguments within the French court brought forth the idea that war with Austria was inevitable. They would have to fight for their slice of Spanish territory. Upon this revelation, the advisors stood down, leaving the decision effectively in the hands of Louis XIV. On November 24, 1700, Louis declared the Duke of Anjou the new King of Spain, and contrary to partition treaties, Phillip claimed all the inheritance.
The prediction of war came to fruition. Charles II was a Habsburg, and thus his dominion belonged to the family. Austria could not tolerate a Bourbon on the Spanish throne. Early in 1701, Austria, and the Holy Roman Empire, declared war upon the Bourbons. With the Grand Alliance still in effect, Louis cut off both England and the United Provinces from Spanish trade. The Oranges might not care which other family sat upon Spain’s throne, but they do care when their Kingdom’s trade it threatened.
Could the United Provinces have stayed out of the War of Spanish Succession? Perhaps. By 1701, the English were prepared to recognize Phillip V. That alone might have prevented war, however, the Dutch still had an alliance with the Holy Roman Empire. National honor would be infringed by backing out. It was an early lesson, and warning against entanglement with future alliances. With Europe’s less enlightened nations constantly at war, the Dutch will simply decide that alliances are bad for business.

King Johann I
Born August 4, 1678, Johann Willem Oranje, was the only child of William III of the United Provinces and Denmark-Norway, and Mary II of England and Scotland. He was born in a position that could potentially inherit all four thrones. By the age of twenty-four he did inherit the thrones of the United Provinces and Denmark-Norway. However, the English-Scottish throne was already promised to Mary’s sister, Anne. That was fine for the Netherlander; Britannia was more trouble than it was worth.
Upon the death of William III, Johann I inherited more than realms. War already exploded across Europe, with the Netherlands placed directly between two large adversaries; one an ally another an enemy. It was not the first time the Provinces were in this position, nor would it be the last. The United Provinces were situated on a location ideal for trade and horrible for land-based defenses. During the War of Spanish Succession, the Dutch would enhance and expand fortifications in the southern Provinces. It was an undertaking started by William III, and would end with William IV.
Almost immediately upon taking the throne, Johann had to contend with Louis XIV declaring war on the Provinces. The Dutch Navy was already active in the English Channel after Louis cut off trade, but the real combat did not begin until 1704. From their hold in Mons, the French launched another invasion of the southern Provinces. It was a two prong attack; one heading east into the Empire via Luxembourg, the second an assault against Antwerp, on a virtually identical course as during the last war.
William III predicted the French would attack Antwerp again. At the mouth of the Rhine, Antwerp was sort of an obsession for Louis XIV and his descendants. Though the city recovered from the Dutch Revolution, it fell under attack by the French repeatedly during the Eighteenth Century. It is believed the Louis hoped to use Antwerp as an anchor of sorts, to press the French frontier on to the Rhine. If this happened, ten of the United Provinces would fall under French rule.
Invasion of the South
The attack on Antwerp was almost doomed from the start. Using the same roads as they had a decade earlier, the French doomed themselves to concentrated defenses constructed by the Dutch. Several fortresses sprang up since the last French foray, and lack of advance scouting (say scouting months or years beforehand) led the invaders into a brick wall.
Dutch cannons commanding the roads leading to Antwerp cut down ranks of French soldiers with grapeshot. The Duke of Vendome ordered charge after charge against Dutch position. He hoped to break the Dutch, but instead only depleted his own ranks. The attack on Antwerp was not a total loss for Louis’s army. Detachments of cavalry flanked the fortresses to raid Antwerp and its docks. After the Nine Years War, almost all Dutch trading companies diverted their shipments from Antwerp to better protected ports, such as Rotterdam, Middleberg and Amsterdam.
Little was taken, however that did not prevent the French from setting fire to the docks. With much of Antwerp’s manpower down the road thwarting the French, fire quickly spread across the city. If not for a freak storm off the North Sea, along with three days’ worth of rain, it is entirely possibly Antwerp’s history would have ended in 1704. As it happened, two more wars would pass before Antwerp was effectively abandoned.
The Siege of Luxembourg turned out to be a more complicated battle than the meat-grinder south of Antwerp. For ten months the French lay siege to the city of Luxembourg, and again had yet to breach the walls. The walls around Luxembourg were not the monstrosities seen during the Middle Ages, but were well proofed against cannon. The siege was lifted early in 1705 by a German-Dutch-English combined army lead by the Duke of Marlborough.
Blenheim
The reason for an English Duke to lead an army to Luxembourg’s safety came from a burning desire to keep the Austrians in the war. They were, after all, one of the two parties that started the twelve year long conflict. The Staaten-General wished for the Duke to stay in the Netherlands, perhaps in an attempt to regain Mons. Ignoring the wishes of the Dutch, Marlborough lead the army into southern Germany.
The goal of march was to prevent the Franco-Bavarian armies from marching on Vienna. In the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century, it was common practice to end a war by taking the opposing side’s capital. This often lead to the side that lost suing for terms. To prevent Austria, and thus the Holy Roman Empire, from capitulating, Marlborough would link up with another army lead by Eugene and block the French.
The Anglo-Dutch-German forces met the French and Bavarians under the command of Tallard at Blenheim. The Battle of Blenheim is said to be the turning point of the War of Spanish Succession. Marlborough won a resounding victory, turning Tallard back and effectively knocking Bavaria out of the war. By 1707, France was one ally short.
However, the French potentially had another ally waiting to board. In the far north, Sweden was at odds with Denmark-Norway and Russia in a grand war waging for control of the Baltic. The Swedish King, Charles XII, had to chose between Denmark-Norway and Russia. Sweden was not the behemoth it is today, and thus could only afford to fight one enemy at a time. In 1705, the pressed the issue with the Danish. With Johann I still King of Denmark-Norway, he would be forced to divide his armies between two enemies. Overall, the Swedes had no quarrel with the Dutch, especially since the Dutch could close the Baltic Sea with ease.
Act of Union
Johann I was willing to come to the aid of his other kingdom in the event of war with Sweden, however, the Staaten-General put a price on the help. The Dutch, a largely middle-class mercantile people, spent the last fifty years supporting the poorer Danes. Nobility in Denmark-Norway racked up large debts by taking out loans from Dutch banks. In total, Amsterdam and the Hague effectively owned Kopenhägen and Bergen.
When war with Sweden loomed on the horizon, Danish nobility pleaded to their King, Johann, to come to their aide. Since William III took the Danish throne, many Dutch have called for unification between the two nations. In 1705, pro-unification factions ceased their opportunity. They would allow soldiers and sailors of the United Provinces to protect Denmark-Norway only if the Danes accept full political union, thus Danish and Norwegian defense would become Dutch defense.
The idea was resisted in noble circles in the Nordic states. Denmark had a long, proud history, dating back to the Vikings. At one point, Danes ruled the North Sea, and Norwegians expanded as far as the New World. They were not the only Vikings; the Swedes extended to the east, called the Rus by the natives, they effectively invented Russia. Denmark-Norway spent the years dating back to the Second Anglo-Dutch War in a downward spiral. If not for the Dutch, perhaps Sweden would have absorbed part of, or even all of, the Danish Kingdom.
Negotiations for unification spanned most of 1705. When the deal looked to be faltering, the Staaten-General added a clause that no indebted noble could refuse. If they two kingdoms became one, then not only would defense be united, but so would debt. Large amount of debt would be forgiven once the Treaty of Unification was signed and ratified. Some historians have accused the Staaten-General of buying Denmark-Norway. Perhaps they are correct, for on August 15, 1705, the Danish nobility gave in to Dutch demands. The Staaten-General quickly ratified the treaty.
September 3, 1705, went down in Dutch history, ranking as high as 1609, and 1887, in the annuals of the United Provinces. Signing the treaty was the first step. Over the next three years, reforms swept through Denmark and Norway. Danish nobles, some but not all, were forced to move to the Hague in order to take their rightful place in the First Chamber. Danish and Norwegian representatives took their place, though not as welcomed as the nobility, in the Second Chamber.
The Act of Union was not the unification that England and Scotland would enjoy during 1707. Instead, it was less unification and more annexation. The United Provinces changed little, yet Denmark-Norway was forced to adapt to ways alien to them. The Staaten-General went as far as to appoint governors to former Danish provinces, ‘in order to expedite the transition to a more democratic society’. The transition lasted for a century, until the Age of Napoleon and later the Congress of Vienna.
Danes soon found themselves second-class citizens within their own lands. Dutch companies moved in to take the place of old Danish establishments. Norway itself was treated more along the lines of Brazil or New Amsterdam than an equal Province. In 1738, William IV bestowed the title of Grand Prince of Norway to his first born, and has continued to be the title for the heir-apparent until the present day.
The Act of Union was not the only groundshaking change to strike the United Provinces in the first decade of the Eighteenth Century. Only a few years after unification, the Dutch people were presented the horrors of their own colonial institutions, and the consequences would topple one of the most powerful companies in Dutch history.
Fall of the Dutch South Atlantic Company
Founded in 1605, the Dutch South Atlantic Company was granted a monopoly on trade in the South Atlantic, and contracted to administer the colonies in Brazil and Angola. Brazil was a jewel in the Dutch Empire’s crown, producing nearly every luxury crop the New World has to offer. Angola remained a backwater for centuries, viewed as little more than impenetrable jungle. At first glance, it had little to offer the Dutch. However, the South Atlantic Company found one resource in Angola, a resource the plantations in Brazil desperately needed; manpower.
For a century, the South Atlantic Company monopolized Brazilian Slave Trade. How a nation like the United Provinces, the freest in Europe at the time, could have more slave ships registered beneath its flag than any other nation is a bit of a paradox. The Dutch people claimed to embrace democracy and love freedom, yet allowed hundreds of thousands of people to be enslaved in its distant colonies. As long as coffee, sugar and tobacco flowed into Dutch ports, the people were content to turn a blind eye to slavery. All except one group.
One of the most sacred principles of the Buddhist monks and followers was to cause no harm. For decades, monks struggled against the institution of bondage, though they managed little more than protests in Amsterdam, the largest home to slavers in the world. To the average Netherlander, the ways of the East were curiosities, though not taken serious by the mainstream. In 1700, only one percent of the population of the United Provinces were Buddhists, and none of the members of the Staaten-General followed the path of the Buddha.
Change had not happened, even after decades of attempting to expose the Dutch people to the truth of slavery. In 1708, a group of adhered monks of the Western Buddhist Templar1, bored several ships bound for Angola. They arrived in Luanda at roughly the same time. Donning disguises, the monks managed to land jobs as sailors on three slave ships destined to Natal and Salvador. According to the monks’ own principles, violence is forbidden. However, in the light of what they viewed as the most terrible of man’s crimes, these monks used limited force in order to take over all three ships. The captain and anyone who refused to cooperate, were lowered into boats while the ships were still along the African coast, and it is not known whether any of them survived.
Months after the hijacking, all of Amsterdam was surprised by the arrival of three ships laden with slaves. Though it housed the most slave ships in terms of registration, few of them ever ventured to the United Provinces. The monks brought prominent leaders of the community onto the ship to see the real cost of cheap sugar. Hundreds of slave crammed into the hold, with barely enough room to move. Many were suffering from malnutrition, and many more died, despite the monks’ efforts to keep them alive.
The South Atlantic Company demanded authorities arrest these ‘pirates’, which was precisely what the city watch did. The monks knew the risks of hijacking ships, especially company ships, and accepted the fate handed down by local judges. All were sentenced to prison, and more than half were executed for the crime of piracy. It pleased the South Atlantic Company, but even in death, the monks still managed to complete their mission.
The damage was done, and all of Amsterdam knew about the conditions in slave ships, conditions no human should ever have to endure. Soon after, pamphlets rose up all across the Provinces, preaching the evils of slavery and condemning the slavers. The South Atlantic Company was not without options. Seeing how all the pamphlets and books were printed and published by the Buddhist Templars, the Company attempted to turn its fellow Christians against them.
They were heathens, foreigners with their godless religion. Yes, Buddhism is without gods, and the Buddhists are quite proud of their faith. The South Atlantic Company called for to every law-abiding and god-fearing Netherlander to rise up and cast out the non-believers. The Company did all it could to place the Religion card, and rally the population into an anti-Dharmic frenzy. They reasoned that even the Church would aid them in doing God’s work.
The South Atlantic Company made the same mistake that both Louis XIV and Oliver Cromwell made in dealing with the Provinces. Instead of unleashing a storm against all things Buddhists, the Dutch people instead turned on the Company. How dare these businessmen, these same people who profit off the misery of their fellow man violate the most sacred of all Dutch percepts. In going against the Founders’ wishes and the Pacification of Ghent, the South Atlantic Company managed to united all the faiths of the United Provinces against them.
By 1609, the whole Catholic community was behind the Buddhist Templars. Though they do not share the same faith, they share the same language, the same food, and, with the exception of the first monks to arrive, the same blood. The Bishop of Utrecht himself stood up before his congregation and condemned the practice of slavery, declaring it an affront to Gods. Though the Vatican agreed, on principle anyway, they made no official stance one way or the other.
Soon churches held rallies, Catholic, Lutheran and even Calvinist, against the evils of slavery. The people soon began to act with their pocket book along with their voice. Brazilian sugar, coffee and tobacco were boycotted in favor of the VOC or England’s American Colonies. It might cost more, but to force a man into servitude– was that not what the Dutch fought against when they rebelled against Spanish rule?
With the public so ardently against the South Atlantic Company, shareholders began selling off their holdings. It soon became better (and more profitable) to invest in a venture that did not involve chattel labor. Share prices fell, profits bottomed out, and by 1710, the Dutch South Atlantic Company was forced to declare bankruptcy. Never before or since has the public of any nation toppled such a large corporation, and never before had a boycott (including the American boycott of British goods preluding the American Revolution) been so absolute.
However, the company’s fall was not the end. The people, and churches, continued to rally around abolition. They started asking the same questions that historians ask today; how could a nation built on person freedom allow for another person to be held in bondage. When public opinion blows one way, the elected official bend to the wind. Delegates in the Second Chamber began to debate the slavery issue in earnest, and not just because an election was rapidly approaching. In 1711, Johann I, made on of his last decrees. He called for the Staaten-General to abolish the practice of slavery throughout all of the United Provinces’ holdings and colonies. Before the King’s untimely death, the United Provinces became the first European nation to outlaw slavery.
As for the South Atlantic Company, when it went bankrupt, it folded shortly afterwards. The Staaten-General, and King Johann I, seized the lands after the monopoly was revoked. Brazil and Angola both became crown colonies, soon subject to governor-generals and other official appointed at the whim of the Hague. In Brazil, slavery was phased out over the next decade. Those slaves that did not leave the plantation to build farms and homes of their own, were issued wages and paid rent. It was similar to the estate system in feudalism, except these workers could leave whenever they pleased. Prices rose, but not so much as to topple the large farming interests in Brazil. With the end of slavery, indentured servitude saw a sharp rise, as a way for the relatively few poor of the United Provinces to afford their way to a new life.
Oddly enough, the biggest winner over abolition were not the slaves, but rather the VOC. The Dutch East India Company backed both the Buddhists Templars and all the protestors throughout 1709-10. They donated to rallies and churches, and pressed for their representatives in the Second Chamber to act. They even managed to secure the release of the monks who started the whole abolition movement. 1709 saw the fall of one Company and the security of another.
However, companies were not the only ones rising and falling in 1709. To the United Provinces’ north and east, to regional powers were locked in a titanic struggle in the northern branch of the War of Spanish Succession. By the same time as the Dutch slaves saw manumission, Eastern Europe saw the fall of one empire and the rise of another in the Great Northern War.
The Battle of Poltava2
One the Act of Union between the United Provinces and Denmark-Norway was finalized, Charles XII of Sweden had little choice but to turn his attention away from the North Sea and throw Sweden’s full might against the Russian Bear. From the time between 1705 and 1709, Sweden fought Russia with less than stellar effort, and Charles failed to bring the war to conclusion before the Summer of 1709. The war itself was started mostly over the establishment of Petrograd, a Russian city in Swedish Baltic territory.
In 1709, the Swedish armies marched through the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and attacked Russia along its souther border. The reason for such a round about invasion came from negotiations between Charles XII and the Cossacks. In return for their freedom, the Cossacks would ally with Sweden against their own hated oppressors. However, the invasion was not without its problems, one involving a thousand soldiers and a pillaged stockpile of vodka.
On June 28, 1709, Tsar Peter personally lead the Russian Army to lift the Swedish siege around the town of Poltava. At the start of the battle, the Russians held a three-to-one numerical advantage. Peter pressed the attack, believing he could quickly roll up the Swedes. He was not totally oblivious to Sweden’s plans, but believed a second army, under the command of General Roos, was some three days out. In reality, they were only three hours away. The Swedes at Poltava held off the Russian advances long enough for a second Swedish army of equal size to march on Peter’s flank. Trapped between two armies, the Tsar ordered a frontal assault against the army closest to Poltava. It had been battered for three hours and must be low on ammunition.
What happened after the charge occurred is not quite clear. What is known is that an anonymous Swedish solider, firing in a volley, managed to pierce the Tsar’s chest, and toppling the great Russian leader in his saddle. The shot went clean through his heart, killing Peter in a matter of minutes. With the Tsar dead, the Russian charge faltered. The Russians were unsure how to move, or who was even in charge. Their hesitation was all the Swedes required. In the space of another hour, ten thousand Russians lay dead, and twenty more thousand wounded and now prisoners. The ensuing chaos caused by the Tsar’s death allowed the Swedes a route.
Upon hearing of the turn of events, Charles recalled the armies north and personally launched an assault on Petrograd. The city, filled with Russian Bouyars who built homes in the city by Peter’s command, was sparely defended and fell before the day was out. Charles contemplated burning the city, but decided it might be a useful port after all. Following Petrograd, the Russian Army, put up one last act of resistance at Novgorod.
Against the Swedes alone, the Russians could have still won. However, Charles used the Cossacks, sending them to attack the Russian’s flanks. Russian lines collapsed and the road to Moscow was open. Moscow did not fall as much as it was sacked. For days, Swedish and Cossacks alike took whatever they desired. Without a Tsar or even a Regent, it was unclear who to negotiate with. Lack of negotiators did not detour the King of Sweden. The power vacuum presented a golden opportunity. In the Spring of 1710, Charles XIII walked into St. Basil’s Cathedral, and walked out as Tsar Charles I. He cemented his control over Russia by emancipating the serfs and removing Russian nobility from its land. In return for helping them free their brethren in the south, the Cossacks swore an oath of undying loyalty to Tsar Charles and the Swedish Royal Family. In the following three centuries, the Cossacks were at the forefront of Sweden’s wars.3
King William IV
In the trailing days of the war, King Johann I road into the southern Provinces to inspect defensive positions built throughout Liege, Artois and Luxembourg. Tragically, the King never reached his first destination. When crossing the Hollands Diep one stormy afternoon, rough waters capsized the ferry upon which he road. The King, along with most passengers, drowned attempting to escape the sinking ship.
His death came months after the birth of his first child, Anna Charlotte, and just weeks before the birth of his heir, Karel Hendrick. His mother served as regent until Karel reached fifteen years of age, when the Staaten-General would allow him to ascend the throne, though he was King in title since his birth. It was not uncommon for future Dutch monarchs to be born after their predecessor met untimely fates.
He was crowned William IV, King of the United Provinces of the Netherlands in 1726, by the Bishop of Liege, like all but one of the monarchs, Maurice II. He considered taking the regal name of Karl I. It would have set well with the new Provinces of Norway and Denmark. However, he opted William, in honor of his grandfather. In 1734, he married Anne of Great Britain, daughter of George II, thus extending the Anglo-Dutch alliance, much to the detestment of Dutch businessmen and politicians.
They attempted to block it, and even succeeded in denying Anne any sort of title. She was unofficially known as the Princess-Consort. However, William made the case that if a man could not decide who he would marry, then were the Provinces really free. Under normal circumstances this is true, however by a Dutch King marrying into the new royal house of Britain, the British could very well drag the Dutch into another one of its wars with France. For the early years of William IV, the Netherlands enjoyed peace, but knew it would not be permanent.
Peace of Utrecht
By 1713, Europe’s Great Powers have had enough of war. Deficits had risen, and Spain even went bankrupt in the course of a war to determine its King. The only nation not to end up broke were the United Provinces. Austria and the newly formed United Kingdom took out loans from large banks in Amsterdam. Though war has often been described as ‘bad for business’, the world’s largest banks often profit greatly from them. Without loans, waging modern war would be next to impossible.
In the end, the nations of Europe recognized Phillip V as King of Spain. The Bourbons took control of the Spanish throne, but not all of its territory. Milan and Naples were ceded to Austria. Furthermore, Gibraltar and Minorica ended up in British hands. The Bourbons were also forced to give up land in exchange for the new throne. The United Provinces regained Mons, along with trade concessions in France’s colonies. France also ceased its support for the Stuart pretenders to the British throne.
With the Peace of Utrecht, the wars to prevent French domination of Europe during the Seventeenth Century finally came to an end. With Bourbons on both thrones, Spain and France remained allied for the remainder of the century, however with the loss of so much land, Spain lost much of its power and was reduced to a second-rate nation. It was so broke, that during negotiations, the King of Prussia offered to purchase one of Spain’s American colonies. Strapped for cash, Phillip V agreed to sell Prussia the Viceroyalty of Rio del la Plata. The war that saw Spain’s final downward spiral, also saw the rise of the German states.
Austrian Succession
By 1740, succession crisis struck Europe again, this time in the Central Europe. Upon the death of the last Archduke of Austria, his daughter, Maria Theresa attempted to succeed him as Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria and Duchess of Parma. Her plan was to succeed to the hereditary Habsburg domains, while her husband, Duke Francis I of Lorraine, would be elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The issue of succession was greatly complicated by Salic law, which prohibited any female descendant from inheriting the throne.
The matter came to a head when Prussia’s King Frederick II launched an invasion of Silesia, using a variety of minor unsettled dynastic claims as a pretext. More over, being a woman, Maria Theresa was viewed as a weak ruler, and one better replaced by a strong male heir, such as Charles Albert of Bavaria. The war between Austria and Prussia started merely over the possession of Silesia. However, with France as an ally of Prussia, and the United Kingdom supporting Austria, other powers were soon drawn into a war that had little to do with succession.
Due to William IV’s marriage to Princess Anne, the United Provinces were honor bound to enter the war on the side of both British and Austrians. The Staaten-General drug its feet in declaring war, but not it declaring defense. It allowed William IV to call up militia and send the standing army into the southern Provinces, probable invasion route of the French. He was also allowed to deploy the Royal Dutch Navy. As soon as the Navy went to sea, the navies of the companies, most notably the VOC, followed. Declared war or not, they would defend company assets from any aggressor.
Once France joined Bavaria against Austria, the United Kingdom declared war upon France. Again, the Staaten-General did not get half way through its deliberation when word of a French declaration of war reached the Hague. Unlike previous wars, France did not immediately invade the southern Provinces. Instead, it linked up with its Bavarians allies and attacked Austria. This gave the United Provinces an opportunity to move first. The attack would not come across the border, but rather on the island-kingdom of a trading partner in the middle of the Mediterranean.
The Sardinian Expedition
In mid-1741, a Dutch expeditionary force of some twelve thousand soldiers, the largest overseas landing until the British land in Rhode Island in 1776, landed on the shores of Sardinia. Under the command of Hendrick van Soot, the army’s objective was to secure the United Provinces’ position in Mediterranean trade, and secondary to aid a long standing trading partner. Like the United Provinces, the Kingdom of Sardinia was once ruled by Spain. When the Netherlands launched their revolution, Sardinians did the same. Unlike the Dutch, Sardinia did not succeed, at least not the first time. It was not until the end of the Thirty Years War that Sardinia gained its independence.
When Buddhist monks hitched a ride across the ocean in the VOC’s ships, many of them took a liking to the island nation. Monasteries dot the hills of Sardinia, mixing with Benedictine and other such Catholic abbeys. While on the island, both religions shared ideas and learned from each other. Many European monks were fascinated by the East, while many Ceylonese monks were equally fascinated by the West. The two brands of Monasteries even managed to find some equal grounding in their faiths, mainly; peace, compassion and love.
However, the Catholic kings of France did not look too kindly on the Sardinian Buddhists. A few of the locals, a lesser percentage than of the Dutch, converted to the alien faith. Kings of Spain and France were loath to tolerate apostates, and where Spain was inept, France was capable. By the End of the Austrian Succession, the only Buddhists in the Mediterranean would be under Turkish rule, where the Turks simply taxed different religions instead of trying to stamp them out.
Though some of the soldiers in Soot’s expedition where no doubt Buddhists, they were still Dutch, and still very nationalistic. They were here not to aid their spiritual brethren, but in defense of their homelands. In the United Provinces, commerce is the homeland. Sardinia was the leading exporter of olive oil to the Netherlands, and a top supplier of wine. France had a vaster supply of wine, but continuous designs on the Rhine River made trade with the French difficult.
French soldiers, along with seven thousand Sicilian allies, made their own landing further north, at modern-day Oristano. Dutch forces marched north from Arborea to force a battle with the Franco-Sicilian invasion. The fact the French landed at all was planned in advance. Soot believed that defeating the army on land and forcing it to surrender would strip France of prestige. He did correctly predict the invading army would be trapped; no French admiral would dare meet the Dutch navy in open combat.
However, the rest of his strategy was flawed from day one. Soot failed to trap the French, and each time he attempted to engage them, the French would slip away. He continued to pursue French and Sicilians, not realizing he was being lead into a trap. While the Dutch Navy dominated the world’s oceans, the Dutch Army was no better or worse than the European average. The further away from the Dutch navy he could be led, the easier Soot would be to defeat.
In October of 1741, the Franco-Sicilian Army engaged the Dutch on the banks of the Tirso River. What resulted was an unmitigated disaster, and taught in the modern Commonwealth Military Academies as what not to do. Soot lead his own army into a valley ambush, with the French on one slope, the Sicilians on the other. Worse yet, the Dutch were cut off from retreat less than an hour after the battle began. In the end, Soot was forced to surrender, to rather generous terms. The Dutch would be disarmed, and allowed to leave the island.
After Soot left the army, it was the United Provinces who lost face. Such an easy defeat only emboldened the French, and led them to invade the southern Provinces with even higher morale. The disaster on Sardinia also allowed the French to sever trade between the two nations. Furthermore, the French removed Sardinia’s King and installed his cousin, a man more friendlier to the Christian cause. Giovanni I remained King until his own untimely death in 1744, which lead to civil war on the island. During the ‘French reign’ and following into the civil war, French forces on the island persecuted the local Buddhists, often giving them the choice to convert or die. Most of the island’s Buddhist population fled Sardinia to the New World, settling on land between Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The Southern Provinces
The Dutch people waited for an invasion, waiting until 1746, when the French launched their invasion. Instead of trying to take back Mons, the French moved along a different route, invading Liege. The French defeated a combined army of the United Provinces and Lorraine at Raucourt, near the city of Liege. The loss of Liege shook the Staaten-General. For the first time in over a century, the Dutch failed to turn back an invasion. Old Provincial tendencies began to resurface, with each of the members of the First Chamber wondering if their Province would be next.
The French handed the Dutch its biggest political crisis since the Revolution and until Napoleon. Strong Kings and common causes served well in the past to hold the nation together. While the nobles squabbled, the French struck again, this time north towards Maastricht. A victory here would allow the French to invade the northern Provinces. None of the northern Provinces had faced foreign invaders since the Spanish, over one hundred fifty years before.
Though he was not as good a general as previous kings, William IV rallied militia from Holland, Zeeland, Brabant and Gelderland, along with twenty thousand regular soldiers and marched towards the Maas River. William faced the French Marshall on the banks of the Maas, early morning on September 27, 1747. William decided to make a forced march through the night, in hopes of catching the French while they were just starting to stir. He was often criticized for attacking a sleeping enemy, to which he could only reply that chivalry was not a luxury the United Provinces had in 1747.
In truth, the French were not asleep. They were just sitting down to breakfast when lines of orange uniformed soldiers bared down upon them. William, though not a great general, had able commanders beneath him. They convinced him to make a sweeping attack, one to trap the French with their backs to the Maas. After a full day of battle, no conclusion was drawn, and by nightfall, the French commander decided to attempt to withdraw during the night. His attempt to cross the Maas nearly ended in disaster. The Marshall and many of his key officers managed to escape, but twenty thousand French soldiers were trapped between the Dutch and the Maas, and were forced to surrender.
Despite this partial defeat, the French were not forced from Dutch territory. When negotiations began in 1748, the French refused to settle for anything less than Mons. French delegates knew there was no way the United Provinces would surrender Liege, and entire Province, so decided to settle for Mons. With that city fortified and manned by the French Army, should war come again, the French would be poised to strike. The Staaten-General had little choice but to surrender the city, not knowing if they could muster a second Miracle on the Maas should the French decide to renew the attack.
New Antwerp
During the 1746 Invasion, the French launched a small punitive expedition towards Antwerp. Since the days of Louis XIV, the French developed an obsession with the old trading center. After several wars, sieges and sackings, Antwerp ceased to serve any traders except the locals. Nonetheless, the French reached the city and set it to the torch. They could not reach the Hague or Amsterdam, so they would settle for destroying Antwerp.
For many Antwerpers, 1746 was one attack too many. Inhabitants began to flee the city in droves, leaving it heavily depopulated. Better destination were plenty, and many of the Antwerpers fled to New Amsterdam and Brazil, Brazil being the most desirable choice. Over the past century, Brazil accepted refugees from every corner of Europe. Huguenots from France, dispossessed nobility from fallen Russia, Catholics from Britain and even serfs escaping the Portuguese provinces of Spain.
However, the East India Company offered many of Antwerp’s inhabitants an alternative for relocation. For over a century, the VOC ruled the island of Formosa and profited vastly from trade with both China and the isolationist island nation of Japan. In that time, natives and imported laborers from China sufficed to work the VOC’s tea plantations, silk production along with rice farms and sugar fields. However, the workers came from the mostly peasant lot and offered little in the way of skilled labor4.
Thousands of Antwerpers were offered the chance to start over, to become the thriving middle class on Formosa. The VOC wished to create a market a little closer to the source Carpenters, artisans, merchants and shipwrights were all granted land in the VOC’s new colony, in exchange for work. The VOC offered generous loans to all who wish to travel, all of which were paid off before the end of the colonist’s third year. The VOC did not want to exploit the displaced Antwerpers, but rather use them for the betterment of the company.
In 1752, the first colonists arrived at a small bay southwest of Taipei. They did not find paradise, but nor did they find mosquito-infested swamps, similar to the ones dotting the Brazilian landscape. Instead they found a relatively flat land, already stripped of its form forests. Little in the way of game lived in the area, and for the first year, colonists were forced to rely upon the Company for its food sources5.
At first, the colonists did little more than the workers already on the island, that is grow crops. Obtaining jobs from the Company was difficult; manager and foreman positions were already filled with able natives and Chinese. To the colonists’ surprise, most of the employees already spoke Dutch, passable if not fluently. To some of the colonists, it was starting to look like they were duped by the VOC.
However, after only two years, the Dutch did what they did best, reclaim. The land stripped of forests soon blossomed with mulberry and tea. Looms powered by water wheels soon churned out excessive quantities of silk bolts. The colonists even learned to like rice, the only food crop grown extensively. As with everywhere else they colonized, the Dutch introduced the tulip to Formosa. The locals, who were already settled into their own homes, soon found room for turban-shaped flower. Most of the assimilation went the other way; the Dutch became Formosans.
By 1763, when Antwerp’s population fell to twenty thousand, New Antwerp was home to twice as many. Where Dutch headed west to get rich off sugar, they headed east to get rich off tea. The Dutch themselves were not big tea drinkers, cafes in the United Provinces served far more coffee. However, their old enemy and ally, the United Kingdom, simply could not get enough of the drink.
Along with becoming the tea-producing center of Formosa, New Antwerp also became its shipyard. At first, the immigrants wished to build the same types of ships they always built, sloops and the like, that is until shipwrights fully inspected VOC ships. The ships that transported the colonists were mostly of European design, sailed by Dutch crews. They were ships that seldom made cargo runs across the Indian Ocean, preferring to transport lighter loads instead. The VOC freighters dwarfed most of what sailed in European waters.
The freighters borrowed heavily from Chinese ship designs. The biggest difference between the two designs lay in compartmentalized hulls. At first, the shipwrights considered the bulkhead cumbersome, and a waste of space. That is, until they saw one in action. Off the coast of New Antwerp, many shipwrights and dockhands watched as a lumbering VOC freighter ran aground on a small coral reef. Seeing the large gouge in the hull, the colonists assumed the ship would sink in short order and prepared to send out rescue parties. The seasoned shipwrights were astonished to see the ship not only survive the impact, but sail into harbor without even listing. When they inspected the ship, they discovered the same bulkheads they complained about saved the ship. A few sailors downed in the flooded compartment, but the ship and its cargo largely survived.
New Antwerp thrived in the latter half of the Eighteenth Century, and served as a beacon for many in the southern Provinces hoping to escape any future French invasions. Brewers from Hainaut introduced hops to the island, and farmers from Flanders brought cattle and cheese. What was commonplace to the Dutch was absolutely exotic to the nations of East Asia. Traders from China and Korea traded in New Antwerp, and the VOC saw to it these commodities were exported to nations around Formosa.
The Enlightenment
It is often said that the Enlightenment arrive a century too late for the Dutch. Ideas of science and liberty spread throughout the British Isles and the newly formed Swedish Empire in the middle of the Eighteenth Century, over a century after they were accepted in the Provinces. However, while New Antwerp blossomed, the United Provinces saw a refinement of their own ideas of liberty.
To a Netherlander around 1750, liberty simply meant they could travel unmolested, worship as they please and even elect their own delegate (crocked or not) to speak for them in the Staaten-General. By 1750, that was no longer enough to satisfy the masses. Netherlanders soon wanted the right to petition the King and the Staaten-General directly. Though they had the right to protest, local constabulary forces often curtailed the masses, fearing a riot could break out. Netherlanders did not want the right to riot, just to assemble peacefully.
Liberty was not just a generalized subject. Printers and publishers wanted to print without having the Staaten-General looking over the shoulder. More than one newspaper in the Provinces was shut down when it made known its blunt opinion of policies made by the Hague. At the time, publishers in both Amsterdam and New Amsterdam spoke of the right to print whatever they wished, short of bald-faced lies.
Liberty was not just spoken of by the well-to-do. The wars with France during the Eighteenth Century put a drain on Dutch society, created a dip in the middle class. It was not so much a class of poor, but rather what would today be optimistically called ‘lower-middle class’. The commonfolk as it were. Whereas businessmen and merchants had the means, the less fortunate of the Netherlands’ larger cities wanted a piece of the action. In the cities, it was the Companies that dominated politics, and often crowded out the poorer man.
The masses of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Brussels wanted to have their own say. They wanted that every man, no matter his income, should have an equal say in the future of the community. Equality was the song of the typical United Province pub. They reasoned ‘are we not the same, created by the same creator?’ Why should income decide one’s place in Eighteenth Century United Provinces. It was a difficult transition in a mercantile society, where the golden rule is; he who has the gold makes the rules.
Equality in vote and rights would not be fully achieve until Post-Napoleonic Europe, nor would the rights of printers or the right to assemble peacefully. The Post-Napoleonic Constitution would borrow much from the American Bill of Rights. For the time being, liberty would have to wait. What would not wait was advancement in the sciences.
By 1750, concepts of gravity and motion were already widely understood6. Universities popped up across the United Provinces like mushrooms after a storm. By the same year, the United Provinces sported the highest literacy rate in all of Europe. With the concepts of caste long since abolished, even the simplest of farmers desired to elevate himself in society. In a society where competition is the norm, a man required every advantage he could muster. The inability to read prevented that same man from gaining more profit that he otherwise would have. Without the potential to advance, it is doubtful that the United Provinces would ever have become the power they are.
Astronomy was a boon to the United Provinces, the top exporter of quality optics in Europe, from the invention of the telescope until today. Little did early astronomers, such as Galileo and Huygens that the simple invention they used to observe Jupiter and Saturn would one day orbit Earth and see galaxies at the edge of space and time. An entire industry of precision instruments took up three percent of the work force in Groningen.
Inventions from around the world, primarily China, found their way into the markets and universities of the United Provinces. Compartmentalized hulls was already explained, and gunpowder and the magnetic compass are already known, however less known Chinese inventions, such as the blast furnace, cast iron and advancements in agriculture were all adapted by the Dutch. The United Provinces used each of these inventions to give it an edge over its own competitors, one of which refused to leave the Dutch alone.
King William V
In 1751, William IV died when his oldest son and heir was but thirteen. Unlike previous young monarchs, Willem Batavius van Oranje was old enough to make decisions and understand what happened around him. However, Dutch tradition stipulates a King must be at least fifteen years of age. His mother, Anne of Great Britain served as official regent for the first two years of his reign. Unofficially, William was already calling the shots, and the regent mostly passed along his command.
Instead of taking a British wife, William V took Wilhelmina of Prussia as hid bride, the sister of Wilhelm II of Prussia7. The marriage represented a reversal of alliances, where technically Prussia was now an ally of the United Provinces, where it was an enemy during the War of Austrian Succession8. The Staaten-General blocked any attempt at a formal alliance between the two states. After being dragged into two wars by their ‘ally’ Britain, the Dutch decided they were better off alone and neutral. Neutrality was far better for business.
Unfortunately, the marriage did not occur until 1767. By the time William V reached his eighteenth birthday in 1756, Europe was at war again. At the time, they were still allied with the British, and once the United Kingdom declared war on France, the French King automatically declared war upon the Dutch. It was this blind automation that prompted William’s decision to forego a British wife.
Seven Years War
The war between the British and French actually started in 1754, in North America. Both British and French colonist fought extensively for control over the Great Lakes region. The Dutch hoped the war would be contained, but by 1755, the Staaten-General knew war would be around the corner. After the previous defeat, the Dutch plotted revenge. In a way, the campaigns of the Seven Years War were an Eighteenth Century replay of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. Both came after humiliating defeats, with Dutch soldiers and sailors eager to redeem national honor.
When war was declared, the Dutch Army and Navy was in position. Though they could not act until the Staaten-General, or the French as it were, declared war, they could move into position by edict of the King. As soon as the declaration reached the Dutch fleet, Admiral Cornelius van der Moor acted. William V personally told Moor that he should enact the plan as soon as word reached him.
What was the plan? It certainly was not a head-on charge at Mons as the French predicted. Instead, Moor landed twenty thousand soldiers at the mouth of the Seine River. When word reached Versailles, the French King made the same mistake as James II, he believed it was an invasion headed directly at Paris. Orders went out recalling the French Army at Mons, along with forces along Rhine frontier.
Was it an invasion? No, Moor landed his force as a feint, an attempt to draw off the French from the Dutch border, and it worked. Moor’s ‘invasion’ force maneuvered along the French coast for two days before embarking. By the time the French realized it was a rouse, William V not only sent the army to retake Mons, but pressed further to lay siege to Calais. After declaring war, the French quickly found themselves on the defensive.
France could sparsely rely on its own allies to help defend France. The Seven Years War saw the rise of Prussia, and its own defeat against Austria, and a half-hearted struggle by Sweden. Neither nation, though large enough to stomp out Prussia could contend against the greatest military mind of the day, Frederick the Great, future brother-in-law of William V. Sweden dropped out of the war by 1758, allowing the Prussians to once again invade Silesia. Austria called to France for aid, and France was forced to give up any plans against the United Provinces for the time being.
French Amazonia
When war was imminent, the Staaten-General and William V decided that this would be the final war. Like other European powers, France drew much of its wealth from overseas colonies and trade in sugar and spice. Fur from Quebec and sugar from French Amazonia filled the coffers in Versailles, and funded consecutive invasions. Dutch colonists joined with British colonists and regulars in the invasion of Quebec, which was largely a British affair.
The Dutch focused on the lands north of Brazil. For a century and a half, the Dutch occupied the Brazilian coast and largely ignored the Amazon Basin. There was nothing but impenetrable jungle, disease and headhunters along its banks. No markets, and no profits. However, the French laid claim to the Amazon River and all the land it touched. This brought them into conflict with Dutch colonists, who only extended at most two hundred kilometers from the coast.
The French did nothing with the Amazon, instead focusing their colonization effort on the area around Cayenne. The city of Cayenne produced the majority of France’s sugar, more so than the Carribean islands under their rule. The Dutch have never been particularly interested in a few small islands, but Cayenne and its wealth drew the attention of entrepreneurs. In Eighteenth Century Dutch society, there was no such thing as too much wealth.
Brazilians had their eyes upon Cayenne since well before the Seven Years War. During the War of Spanish Succession, little French activity occurred within Dutch reach. By the Austrian War, the United Provinces were in too desperate a straight to send an expedition. By 1756, all that had changed. The Staaten-General sent thousands of soldiers to reinforce the Brazilian militia. Early in 1758, enough men and ships were massed in both Recife and Natal that action was possible.
The Brazilian governor-general appointed the Duke of Pernambuco as General of the Amazonian Expedition. Pernambuco left Recife at the end of January and sailed up past the Amazon delta with more than seven thousand soldiers. The amount seemed ridiculously small in comparison with grand battles of Europe, but more than sufficed for the action at hand. In truth, the French had only enough soldiers to keep the restless natives at bay, and foolish as it seemed, the Governor of French Amazonia never anticipated an attack by the Dutch. Why would Brazil attack Cayenne? Do they not already have enough land?
To the Brazilians, and the Staaten-General, Cayenne was not about land, but about beating the French down so badly that they could never threaten the United Provinces again. A pipe dream perhaps, for France had several times the population of the Netherlands, though far more dispersed than their Dutch counterparts, whom even then lived on top of each other. For all the land that was in Brazil, Netherlander middle-class were not quite wealthy enough to acquire it.
By April of 1758, Cayenne was under the control of Pernambuco. After firing a few shots for French honor, the Governor surrendered to the vastly superior invasion force. Controlling Cayenne was parallel to Controlling New Orleans or Quebec. Controlling either city left the occupier effectively in control of Louisiana and New France respectively. Only a scattering of towns and large plantations accounted for the rest of South America’s French population. By surrendering Cayenne, the French Governor in essence ended French colonial activities in South America.
Treaty of Petrograd
By 1763, France was beaten to a standstill. All of its mainland colonies in the New World were under foreign occupation, and the Dutch still held on to Calais. Austria was forced to sue for peace against its German cousins to the north, which meant France was on its own. The French King desired to hold on to some colonies, and knew if he continued the war he would lose them all.
Sweden hosted the peace negotiations in the city named after the last of the Russians Tsars. By 1763, the Swedish King merged his titles to Sweden and Russia, becoming the first Emperor of Sweden. For dropping out of the war early, Sweden only had to part with some of it Pomeranian holdings, which was fine, because the Swedes were not interested in them anyway. Why fret over some Baltic coast when they had vast steppes still in need of colonization.
The United Provinces pressed for harsh terms against France, including limiting the size of its army and navy. It was willing to trade some concession (not Amazonia though) including Mons for future security. However, the United Kingdom was more interested in building a better future for itself than for Europe. George II’s envoys dominated the talks. Though France lost many of its colonies, it was better than what the Dutch were preparing to offer.
In conclusion, the Dutch were awarded French Amazonia and the city of Mons. The British partitioned Louisiana between itself and long time ally of the French, Spain. To this, the Dutch were opposed. In principle they were opposed to anything that elevated Spain. The British were not content with the vast emptiness of the American plains. They annexed all of New France, booting the French from American shores for good.
France was allowed to keep its large army, one that it could no longer afford. The Staaten-General was pleased that France would not be able to invade Dutch soil for quite some time, however that did not equate trust. As soon as Mons was formally in Dutch hands, Dutch soldiers fortified it, along with the southern Border. If– when war came again, they wanted to be prepared. Though the government worried, the people rejoiced. As far as they were concerned, the hated enemy was vanquished, and the people could get back to the business at hand. With new acquisitions and one enemy out of the way, business was looking good.

The Kiat
April 4th, 2010, 01:02 PM
VI) Revolutions
(1763-1815)
The Indian Ocean
By 1763, the Indian Ocean was rapidly on its way of becoming a Dutch lake. The VOC ran colonies from southern Africa to India all the way to the Australian coast. Peace might have came to Europe, but in the middle of the Eighteenth Century the VOC sought new markets. New markets might as well mean new conquests. In the preceding century and a half, the VOC managed to expand its Portuguese conquests. French, Danish and Venetian trading posts were gradually muscled out of southern India, with France being the last to be ousted in 1763.
Only the VOC was pleased by the monopoly on foreign trade in southern India. A number of princely states, most notably Mysore, were not pleased by the lack of choices. Though the VOC’s prices were not extortion, they were higher than they would be with competition. A few states closed their borders to the Dutch, but most simply sought out new traders. In response, the VOC simply conquered the states, and installed more complacent princes and kings.
Like many trading companies of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, the VOC wielded powers comparable to that of nations. The VOC’s royal monopoly authorized it to sign treaties, raise armies, levy taxes and even wage war. What started as a small band of sailors and Ceylonese soldiers soon grew into a large, well-organized mercenary force. When veterans of Europe’s wars grew restless in peace, the found employment with their national trading companies. The VOC was no different.
The VOC hired the best soldiers they could find in Europe (though the Amsterdam-based company steadfast refused to hire Spanish, and later French soldiers). Upon establishing itself in southern India, the company began to hire local talent. At first, they only hired locals as guides and translators, but after the VOC’s first conference gave the VOC a new problem; what to do with the prisoners of war? The task of disarming and pacifying conquered states strained the VOC’s resources, and occupying the state was simply not profitable.
In 1643, the governor-general of the East India Company proposed to the shareholders that the VOC simply hire the soldiers it just defeated. Who better to fight Indians than other Indians. He reasoned they were accustom to both land and disease, and hiring local armies would save on shipping Europeans half way around the world. Thus started the VOC tradition of employing those it just vanquished.
One today might wonder what would compel a pre-commonwealth Indian from allying with foreigners against their own nation and people. What one must keep in mind is that many of the soldiers were conscripted, and if paid, it was very little. The VOC offered, in some cases, seven times the salary of a soldiers, and up to twice the annual average income. The allure of better pay and constant work convinced more than a few defeated foes from switching sides. Truth was, the VOC exploited regional rivalries. It would be like Napoleon hiring Austrians to fight Turks, or Spaniards to fight Sardinians.
Aside from greater pay than conscripts and the opportunity to battle old adversaries, employment by the VOC offered Indians the possibility of advancement. In the Hindu states of the south, caste was everything. The idea of advancement, to elevate one’s position on the social ladder was very foreign indeed, and many Indian employees relished the idea. Change was not welcome by everybody, however. For centuries upon centuries, those of the highest castes, such as the Brahmans, ruled with occasional impunity.
In 1767, Mysore began to push back the tide of VOC influence in its region. For a century and a half, the VOC operated trading posts on Mysore’s coast, acting as middleman between the Indian state and foreign buyers. When the VOC began to enact its own tariffs and taxes on Mysore, and Mysoran King was not pleased. Several dozen tax collectors were killed by Mysore, their heads delivered to the local VOC headquarters at Goa. It took some time for word of the ‘massacre’ to reach Amsterdam, but when it did, the VOC gave the only response available; it declared war.
The Dutch-Mysore war was short, but still the bloodiest conflict in southern India during the Dutch Raj. Thousands of VOC employees lost their lives, while tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Indian were killed, either in combat or famine that followed. Native lords took their own taxes of food and gold, and when the VOC overran an estate, the vaults and granaries were taken as spoils of war. Indian employees, particularly those from states hostile to Mysore, looted markets and burnt fields.
The VOC had little regard for the Indians. If Indian killed Indian, that was not their concern. When the United Provinces took direct control over India in 1800, the anti-Dutch mentality gave future governor-generals fifty years of headaches. It took even longer to undo the damage inflicted by the company. When the VOC emerged victorious, the King of Mysore was put to death, and a distant cousin installed on the throne, one that might be more agreeable to VOC policies. By 1771, the government and courts of Mysore answered directly to the Governor-general on Ceylon.
Some of the spoils of the Mysore conquest came in the forms of precious and semi-precious stones found across the Indian sub-continent. Before the invasion, Netherlanders only had the faintest idea about sapphires and emeralds. Afterwards, the demand for gemstones drove the VOC, and later the Dutch Raj, to expand its sphere of influence throughout India. It also lead to the downfall and near destruction of the VOC, following its prohibitively expensive conquest of British-controlled Bengal during the 1780s.
Cape Colony
One of the backwaters of the Dutch world and the VOC’s commercial empire oddly enough lay at the most strategic point in the spice trade; southern Africa. Kapenstadt was founded by the VOC in 1617, as an agricultural colony to stock its ships with the food required for long journeys. The VOC hired farmers and other adventurers across the United Provinces with the promise of free land. The first settlers brought with them tried and true crops, such as wheat, barley and grapes (all of which doubled for alcohol productions). The following decades saw the arrival of more exotic crops.
Potatoes from the New World, oranges and limes for battling scurvy, and even attempts to plant sugar. These attempts were quickly squelched by the VOC. The colonists were paid to produce food, not cash crops, and besides, Cape Colony was not the ideal environment for sugar cane. Much protest came out of the issue. "It is my land, and I will grow what I like,’ to which the VOC replied that no, you are our employees and you will grow exactly what we tell you to. Instead of a second Brazil, the Cape became Holland, Flanders or even Limburg transplanted on the opposite side of the world, complete with dairy farms, but minus the liberty.
Cape Colony was unique in the VOC’s holdings. It was the only mostly exclusive Netherlander department that was ruled like a private fief. The colonists considered the VOC tyrants of the worst kind, sons of Spain and not true Netherlanders. The VOC really did not care what the colonists thought, as long as they grew what they were suppose to, and since the company held a complete monopoly on the colony, what it said went.
By the start of the Eighteenth Century, many of the colonists had enough of the VOC’s dictates and upped and moved further inland. Since the company saw little of interest in the interior of southern Africa, it was reasoned that was the perfect place to escape. Word of the South Atlantic Company’s fall angered the colonists further. Former slaves now had more right than Dutch citizens, it was an outrage. Attempts to send word to the Hague failed, since again the VOC controlled the lines of communication. Anyone foolish enough to attempt sending word were eventually discovered and fined.
Up to a hundred families departed Kapenstaat for the bush and for freedom from the domineering VOC. The families, known across history as Boers, took upon the Boer Trek across three hundred kilometers of wilderness before reaching rivers and watering holes in the highland. The first Boer Trekkers left Kapenstadt in August of 1768, after suffering a century and a half of VOC rule. With the abandonment of Antwerp, the VOC had more than enough settlers to replace the lost ones. However, after 1768, the VOC cracked down on the colonists, and made every attempt to prevent emigration to the interior.
The Boers lived life in the bush far freer than on the cape, but far harsher. Gone were the luxuries brought in by the VOC, and gone were the luxury crops grown for them. Boers brought with them their sheep and cattle, along with corn and wheat, and a few tomatoes. Not only did their livestock provide food, but wool and cattle hide powered the tanning and weaving industry the Boers built up.
The first hundred families settled in roughly the same area, founding a new town, Johannesbourg, named for the king at the time of the Trek. The town was little more than a collection of shops and farms clustered around a watering hole. After the first year, 1708, each of the families lost at least one member to the hazzards of the bush. If not for the effort to establish positive relations with the Bushmen, it is not likely that the first Boers would have survived.
The community established around Johannesbourg struggled to survive for years to come. More Boers made the move, adding numbers to the town. Throughout history, population increases were often viewed as improvements. However, Johannesbourg lacked resources to support the growing community. Trade with the Bushmen supplemented what could be grown on farms and ranches. Boer homes were nothing like the plantations in Brazil and Ceylon or orchards of New Amsterdam. They were subsidence level farming, with simple houses built of stone with dirt floors. In comparison with the rest of the Dutch Empire, the Boers lived in poverty.
When Johannesbourg reached saturation level, Boers branched out to other watering holes and rivers, establishing new towns. Each of these towns, once stable, took to electing their own leaders, village chiefs or town mayors. Trade between towns soon brought the Boer communities closer together, closer to nationhood. Within a hundred years, three Boer republics were established; Johannestaat, Transvaal and Nieu Oranje.
Turmoil in North America1
While the Boers were struggling on the opposite side of the Atlantic, the New Amsterdammers were thriving. Trade with the American colonies and the Iroquois Confederacy, along with the United Provinces made many of the inhabitants of New Amsterdam wealthy. Where a Boer might live in a shanty, even the poorest of New Amsterdammers lived with wooden floors. The city of New Amsterdam, close to fifty thousand by 1770, was nearly as crowded as old Amsterdam.
The city occupied only the lowest fourth of Manhattan Island, with little motivation to expand. The island, once heavily forested, was mostly stripped, its wood shipped off to Europe, now was covered in a sea of wheat and orchard. Apples and pears, along with tobacco plantations on Long and Staaten Islands flooded the city’s market place, along with fish from the Mauritius River and furs from the Iroquois.
Wars in the southern Provinces drove many from Hainaut, Flanders, Artois and Luxembourg drove many of those Provinces’ citizens from fleeing to a better life. Those who could afford plantations and the paid labor required to run it, left for Brazil. The middle class left for North America, to join many other Europeans looking for freedom from fear and violence that racked Europe during the wars of Louis XIV.
By the decade of the 1770s, New Amsterdam was in the most unique position for observing the American Revolution. The city itself could be considered the key to the conflict, and aside from raids during the Anglo-Dutch Wars, New Amsterdam largely avoided war. The fact that the Dutch controlled access to the Mauritius River was one of the reasons the Americans were not swamped in 1776. Had the British had control of New Amsterdam, the outcome of the American Revolution and world events may have drastically altered.
The Mauritius River divided rebellious New England from the rest of the colonies. The center of the Revolution until 1776 was the city of Boston, one that fell to Washington’s army without a shot in 1775. A second army, one lead by Arnold, secured Fort Ticonderoga. Washington’s army was nearly cut off in 1776, when an army of twenty thousand British soldiers and German mercenaries landed in Rhode Island and threatened to trap Washington in Boston.
Without access to the Mauritius River, the British were incapable of preventing Washington from crossing over into Pennsylvania and safety. To get around New Amsterdam, the British began to build a fleet upon Lake Champlain. After driving the Americans out of Canada, Arnold took it upon himself to build his own fleet to stop the British. During the Battle of Valcour Bay, Arnold’s fleet of virtual rafts was all but destroyed, yet he delayed the British long enough that they were forced to turn back before the winter set in. During the winter of 1776, Washington crossed the Mauritius River to attack a Hessian garrison at White Plains, just north of the border.
The British effort fell apart in 1777. Though Burgoyne launched a second, more successful invasion of the Iroquois Confederacy. The plan was to have Howe’s army link up with him and destroy the army in the north, under the joint command of Arnold and Gates. Instead, Howe indulged his own quest for glory by sailing south to attack Philadelphia, the rebel capital. The northern British army nearly defeated the Americans in Iroquois land, if not for the actions of Arnold. Burgoyne was forced to surrender at Saratoga. When Gates attempted to accept the surrender, Burgoyne refused to surrender to any general with a uniform cleaner than his own. He would only surrender to the one that defeated him2.
Recognition
Much of the history of the recognition of the United States lay with Benjamin Franklin’s exploits in the French court. For the purpose of Dutch history, the focus will be more on John Adams’s quieter mission to the Hague. Despite being dragged into several wars by an alliance with the British, the Dutch were not eager in engaging them in war. Much anti-British sentiment dwelled in the southern Provinces, those ravished by wars with France.
Trade with Great Britain itself was at a minimal. The British had their own merchant fleet, and a combination of tax-breaks for the British and tariffs on everyone else made Dutch good, though generally higher in quality, too expensive to the relatively poorer British citizenry. Despite sentiment and trade obstructions, there was no real reason to recognize the American’s independence, despite strong trade ties with the colonies, unless the rebels can prove themselves capable of victory.
Though the French were eager to get back Quebec, Dutch recognition came only when the American’s forced the surrender of an entire British army. Oddly enough, John Adams first heard of the victory of Saratoga from Dutch diplomats and not his own people. Word of the victory quickly spread down the Mauritius River to New Amsterdam, then across the Atlantic as soon as the first trader set sail for home. Recognition came in April of 1778, but Adams had yet to secure an alliance. Word that France allied with the Americans made some members of the Staaten-General hesitate. After so many wars, being allied with France was unthinkable.
When the alliance did come, in the summer of 1778, it came from a source very far away from the American Revolution. It was the VOC that pushed the alliance through their members of the Second Chamber and lobbied for the King and First Chamber to declare war upon Britain. The VOC had no interest in the United States. What it did have a great interest in were the British holdings in Bengal. After defeating the Moguls, the British gained dominance over the area. The British East India Company, the British counterpart of the VOC, was the greatest threat to VOC preeminence. When war was declared an the Anglo-Dutch alliance finally broken, it was not America that was the battlefield, but Bengal.
Bengal
The only significant Dutch action in the Americas came from New Amsterdam. A small army lead by the Marquis of New Amsterdam linked up with an American force led by Arnold to drive the British from Connecticut. This action not only liberated an entire state, but freed New Amsterdam from threat of attack. The real Dutch action came not from the national army and navy, but from a private one. The VOC invested much capital in building a fleet and raising an army both in the United Provinces and in India. Throughout Bengal and adjacent regions, the Indians were developing their own Anti-British attitude.
It was not until 1779, did the VOC have sufficient forces in place to invade Bengal. The first regiments landed in March of 1779. VOC ships wasted no time in attacking British ships. Losses in trade in 1779 alone drove the British East India Company’s profits so low that bankruptcy was inevitable. They petitioned both Parliament and King for assistance against the invasion. Word of British losses provoked many natives in India to rise up against company rule. Little did they realize they would be trading one corporate master for another.
British control over the land was forever broken on June 15, 1779, when VOC soldiers decisively defeated the British at Dacca. The battle was one of the few cases of two rival corporations actually coming to blows over a competing market. Never again would companies wield so much power as they did at the Battle of Dacca. The battle marked the end of British East India Company, and the deficit raked up by the VOC marked the beginning of its own decline, though it would eventually recover, but not to its nation state-like status.
Following the battle, company officials surrendered all assets in Bengal to the VOC. It would be three years before the British would react to the shock to their own economy. Britain’s Royal Navy set sail for India in 1782, with fifty ships and enough soldiers to hopefully drive the Dutch from Bengal. Tragically, the fleet never reached Bengal. It was intercepted by VOC and Dutch ships off the coast of Ceylon. The Battle of Jaffna marked the end of British control over India. British access to its colonies in the Philippines and trade with China was greatly restricted by the Dutch for twenty years following the peace treaty.
Treaty of Paris (1783)
In 1782, The British met with the Americans, French and Dutch delegates in Paris to end the war. By then, the British were all but defeated in America and India, and the French were too well entrenched in Canada to drive them out. To compound difficulties for the British, the three nations insisted on an allied peace. Many in Parliament were regretting not negotiating with the Americans in 1776, for in 1783, the British were going to lose big.
In the end, Britain automatically recognized American independence. For the French, victory was far from complete. They could not be driven from Canada, but they could not secure all of their lost territory. The British held fast in Arcadia, and the French had no hope of regaining Louisiana, not without a war with Spain. In the end, France settled for regaining Quebec. As for the Dutch, the rewards were far richer. The United Provinces walked away from the American Revolution the sole European power in India. As with all of its Indian Ocean possessions, administration of Bengal was left to the VOC, as were all the riches that could be reaped.
The French Revolution
As a direct result of involvement in the American Revolution, France experienced its own revolution. By the late 1780s, tens of thousands of French were fleeing famine northward into the United Provinces. At first, it was believed the vanguard of a peasant army bent on conquering Flanders. Instead, the peasants were only interested in acquiring enough wheat to feed themselves and perhaps passage to overseas colonies. Brazil was, after all, built upon the labors of refugees from all corners of Europe.
By 1789, the French Estates General was summoned for the first time in living memory. However, it was the old Three Estates of France, with the Nobility and Clergy, about one percent of the populations, able to outvote the other ninety-nine percent. However, the French learned not only remember the values of the American Revolution, but have themselves been discussing and debating the ideals of liberty and the enlightenment.
During the revolutionary year of 1789, nobility and clergy renounced their privileges and the old Estates General fell, to be replaced by a unicameral National Assembly. The assembly forced Louis XVI to sign away power after power as the once absolutist state was elevated to the level of constitutional monarchy. Before long, Louis had enough an attempted to organize his own coup against the National Assembly, with the help of his in-laws, the Habsburgs. Upon hearing of this, the King was eventually arrested and put on trial. By 1791, the King was found guilty of treason and executed, transforming France into a kingless state. Shortly after, the Reign of Terror began.
Most Dutch considered themselves safe from France’s problems, but by 1792, almost every monarch in Europe was at war with France. The Dutch opted to stay neutral, and as long as its shipping was not threatened, they were content to let their rivals reduce each other to second- and third-rate powers. It did not work according to their wishes. The first Dutch to feel the force of the Revolution were in Flanders and Artois, were a revolutionary army invaded the United Provinces.
The invasion spread Revolutionary ideas, including reforming the Staaten-General. For the most part, the Dutch wanted only to reform the Second Chamber, to abolish the practice of buying votes, to end dynastic politics and to give the vote to every man. The companies, especially the VOC, opposed this idea, for it would take away their power. In the waning years of the Eighteenth Century, governor-generals and boards of shareholders have grown more autocratic, greedier, and for the only time in its history, placing the VOC before the United Provinces.
Revolutionary France was not content to wait for the Dutch to reform itself. In 1793, the French Republic once again declared war against the United Provinces. For the most part, the Dutch expected repeats of previous invasion. However, the new France proved to be merit-based in its selection of officers and generals. In May of 1793, the Duke of Luxembourg was systematically defeated by the new corp of French generalship. By the end of the year, France’s National Assembly was calling for union with the Dutch Provinces.
 
Rise of an Emperor
Each nation has its pivotal moment, when everything that happens is either before or after. For the United Provinces, that moment was Napoleon. The United Provinces managed to stay free from Napoleon’s control, mainly because of British activity in the Mediterranean and the Austrians in Italy. France sent several expeditions into Dutch territory following its occupation of Luxembourg. The Dutch made several of its own attempts to dislodge the French. For the most part, Napoleon, Emperor in 1804, was content to leave the Dutch and their banks alone, with the exception of the strategic crossroads of Luxembourg. It was vital to his wars in Germany.
Before the campaigning season ended in 1804, Napoleon grew displeased by the Dutch and their resistance. He lead an invasion, at the head of a quarter of a million men, and easily crushed the Dutch at Limburg, Mons and finally crushing the army at Arnhem, in the northern Provinces, opening the road to Amsterdam. For the first time since the Dutch Revolution, the United Provinces were not only defeated in the north, but left completely defenseless before a foreign invader. The Dutch inability to stop the French was not a deficiency of its own officer corp, but rather the fact they faced Napoleon, the greatest general in European history, and the only man who took on the world and nearly won.
By March of 1805, Amsterdam was in French hands, and Napoleon was marching on the Hague. King William V, too old for combat in 1805, learned of Napoleon’s terms; France would annex the lands south of the Rhine, and the remaining United Provinces would become a vassal of the French Empire. When Napoleon began his march, members of the Staaten-General were already loading their ships and preparing to flee.
The King wished to stay and fight the invaders to the death. It was only the intervention of his son and heir that convinced the King he must seek exile for the time being. There was no hope of defeating Napoleon, and should he fall into French hands, it would be a disaster for the Dutch. Just because the Dutch government was going into exile, did not mean it planned to just give its capital to the French. Before evacuating, William V ordered dikes and levies along the Rhine River and the North Sea breached. The floods inundated the land, slowing Napoleon’s advances, allowing enough time for the Dutch government to escape.
Exile
When fleeing the advancing French Grande Armee, the Dutch did not flee aimlessly. Several destinations were proposed. Britain was first proposed due to its proximity, but no self-respecting Netherlander would ask an Englander for sanctuary, even if it was the only nation holding its own against Napoleon. New Amsterdam was offered up, but quickly rejected due to a legal technicality. Technically, the United States were still allied with France, though a great rift developed during the Reign of Terror and the tens of thousands executed, not to mention seizure of American ships trading with the British.
New Amsterdam was too much a security risk for the House of Orange, nor did it have enough manpower to allow for the Dutch to rebuild its forces. The only destination with enough wealth, enough population and sufficient infrastructure to support the Dutch Empire was Brazil. July 27, 1805, King William V debarked his ship in the city of Recife. For the next ten years, Recife would serve as capital to the United Provinces and all Dutch colonies.
William’s first, and last act before his death, was to consolidate Dutch forces in Recife. He ordered couriers to each of the colonies, calling forth men and ships to arms. Even in exile, the Royal Navy was still more than capable of blockading France. France was effectively cut off from its own colonies, and again the British occupied Quebec along with Haiti. Though the Provinces were occupied, the Dutch still managed to cut off France’s entire import-export economy. Blockade was but a mere inconvenience to France, which by 1806 was the master of western Europe. However, not all Dutch escaped to Brazil. Many remained home, to resist the French occupation and terrorize the collaboration government.
Batavian Republic
Once in command of the low countries, Napoleon expanded his legal code to include not only the Provinces annexed to France, but the seven remaining ones. Along with new laws, the northern Provinces were combined into a new nation in the image of France; the Batavian Republic. Revolutionary Netherlanders found positions in the new government, abolishing titles and handing the powers of government into a National Assembly based in Amsterdam. What nobility remained in the Netherlands soon found itself under assault from a milder form of the Terror. The Count of Holland was one of the nobles put to death for ‘crimes against liberty’.
Though the Dutch Revolutionaries declared the new republic, in truth they had little power. For the most part, the Dutch National Assembly did as Napoleon commanded. The Dutch people, living in the light of liberty long before the French ever considered overthrowing its own despots, found the Batavian Republic tyrannical. The Revolutionaries said that to save liberty, they must sacrifice liberty, though the repression was not as severe as the later German occupation.
To control the population, internal passports were issued in 1807. The attempts were largely ineffectual; the guards appointed to border crossings were conscripts and resentful of the Batavian Republic. They made only a lukewarm attempt to enforce the laws. Nor did they attempt to thwart the resistance. The terrorizing of collaborators was the primary cause of the passport laws. To compound matters, the Batavian Army was stocked with either sympathizers to the resistance, or full fledged members.
By 1810, the French had enough of Dutch insolence. Napoleon dissolved the Dutch National Assembly, and placed his brother, Louis as Regent of Batavia. When Louis called forth a new Assembly, it was stocked with members personally picked by the Regent. The Batavian Army was dissolved. Louis instead commanded two divisions of French reserves to police Batavia. Furthermore, he levied an almost suffocating level of taxation upon the nominally low-taxed Dutch people.
What was simple acts of resistance under the National Assembly became full blown ‘insurrection’3. Louis’s heavy-handed response only added fire to the raging fury. With rebellion in his rear, Napoleon was forced to divide his forces on the eve of his invasion of Sweden, with dire consequences to the Emperor4. To quell the uprising, entire cities were put to the torch. Country village and towns were not the only ones to feel the flame. March 20, 1813, was the day Rotterdam was put to the torch following the assassination of Louis’s general Montier.
The Empire of Brazil1
Across the Atlantic, while the Provinces suffered beneath both puppet rulers and foreign, a new Staaten-General was formed in Recife. Though the First Chamber remained largely unchanged, minus the inclusion of Brazilian peerage, the Second Chamber took on a whole new dimension. The members that did manage to escape, few had ever left the United Provinces, and even fewer had ever set foot in Brazil before1805. As with tradition, members of the Second Chamber must be elected from the populace. Since the fall of the South Atlantic Company, Brazil has been ruled directly from the Hague. It had little experience in self-rule or elections, or so the Netherlanders believed.
When it came to democracy, the Brazilians did not look east, but rather north, to the United States of America. To them, the words ‘all men are created equal’ held more value than to a Netherlander, who took liberty for granted. By 1806, more than a third of Brazil’s population were descendant from slaves brought over from Angola during the Seventeenth Century. Again, few members of the Second Chamber (or the First for that matter) had ever seen a black man before arriving in Brazil.
Before Napoleon, Brazilians were contemplating their own revolution. The Americans had it right ‘no taxation without representation’ nor should a people be ruled without their consent from across the ocean. However, with the Dutch Government in exile, the Brazilians had the perfect opportunity for reform. If the government was to be in Recife, then there shall be Brazilians in it. Unlike the Americans, the Brazilians never felt ill towards the Dutch King, their King. When William V arrived in Recife, the Brazilians welcomed him with all the respect a monarch commands.
When the Staaten-General attempted to return to business as usual, the Brazilians soon felt as if their own King was not leading their nation, but rather occupying it. Brazilians at first demanded equal representation in an assembly upon their own soil, but when their words were ignored, they began to demand their own government, separate from the Hague. Again, the Staaten-General ignored them. The Netherlanders looked down upon the Brazilians as unsophisticated children, the colonists needed guiding from the parent nation.
After two centuries of ‘guidance’ the Brazilians decided they could stand on their own. Amsterdam and the Hague were not the only cities in which words of liberty were discussed in cafes and pubs. Citizens in Recife, Mauristadt and Natal organized nation-wide strikes and protests. At the head of this quasi-rebellion was former professor at the University of Pernambuco, Johann Valckenaer.
Like many American revolutionary leaders, Valckenaer was born to a well-to-do family in the city of Salvador. He was well educated, traveled, charismatic, and above all, he genuinely cared about the ills of his fellow countrymen. He tried to lead a non-violent protest, not wanting to spark the level of violence seen in the American colonies. He loved his country and king, and had misgivings about striking during a time when the mother country was beneath foreign heels, but if the Dutch aristocracy and merchant-class wanted Brazil’s help in their war, then they were going to give Brazil the respect it deserved.
Valckenaer made no attempt to declare independence, and invested much energy in stopping the extremist factions from tearing a rift between Brazil and the United Provinces. If Brazil was to lead the Dutch fight against Napoleon, then in must do so as its own nation, separate from the Hague but not from the King. He petitioned William Frederick, the heir-apparent, to hear his grievances. He shall be king of Brazil the same as the Provinces, but the Brazilians wanted to handle their own affair, without interference from the Hague. More to the point, if the Dutch were to stay in Brazil, then they must form a government of Brazilians.
Maurice already had an enemy in front of him, he could scarcely afford to have a rebellion behind him. If the Dutch were to prevail over Napoleon, they must remain a unified front. In the End, Maurice II and the Netherlander transplants had little choice but to give in to Brazilian desires. Along side the United Provinces’ Staaten-General, and Brazilian Staaten-General was established. In return for their cooperation against Napoleon, the Brazilians would be permitted to attend their own affairs, though foreign affairs were tightly controlled by the U. P. Staaten-General. One of the Brazilian Staaten-General’s first acts was to locate a suitable monarch to take the as of yet made Brazilian Throne.
King Maurice II
Upon taking the thrones of the United Provinces and Brazil, Maurice went to work on forming a new government. The Brazilian Staaten-General shall be independent of the United Provinces in all affairs internal, however, it would still be a realm within the Dutch Empire. Brazil also adopted the first written constitution within the Dutch world. Since 1609, the United Provinces operated under an unwritten, sacred agreement on how to govern a realm of seventeen independent states. Brazil would be united from the get go, and the Brazilian drafters of its constitution borrowed heavily from the United States.
The Staaten-General was to be divided into two chambers. The first chamber shall be called the Senaat, and its members will either be hereditary nobles of the Brazilian provinces, such as the Count of Natal and Duke of Pernambuco, or otherwise elected by provincial government to represent their own interests in Recife. The second chamber, called the House of Electors shall be elected from districts within the provinces for terms of two years. Senators, if inherited, will be in for life, where as elected officials shall hold office for six year terms.
Unlike the United States Constitution, Brazil’s made specific articles addressing the monarchy. Brazil shall be in personal union with the United Provinces, and its ruler shall be bestowed the title of Emperor. Brazil was an empire in the continental sense; it controlled a large portion of South America. With Spain so weak from its own involvement in the Napoleonic Wars, Brazil could have annexed any of the Spanish colonies it desired.
The head of the Brazilian government, and representative of the Emperor, who assuredly would return to the Hague eventually, would be bestowed upon a Prime Minister, one Johann Valckenaer. He would be the first of Brazil’s many Prime Ministers, elected by the Brazilian Staaten-General, which would do so at the Emperor’s blessing. Unlike future Prime Ministers of future Dutch realms, the length of time required to send message across the Atlantic in the early Nineteenth Century prohibited any sort of direct control by the Hague. To rectify this, the Emperor would travel to Brazil and reside within his palace in Recife on a regular basis; once every five years according to the bare minimum requirements of the Constitution.
Brazilians
Whereas the Brazilian Constitution would be groundwork for the future Dutch Constitution, the foundation of the Empire drastically altered the way Brazilians conducted business. Before the Staaten-General fled the Hague, the Brazilians had little in the way of self-determination. City councils and town halls about covered it. The provincial and overall colonial government was handled first by the South Atlantic Company, then directly as a Crown Colony.
Before 18065, the average Brazilian lived a political life far different than the average Netherlander. Though both lived in a largely middle-class society, the Brazilian people had no say in how their nation was ran. On the other hand, the Netherlander could petition for their representatives in the Staaten-General, or failing that, simply replace him at the next election. Brazilians had no such option; they policies were decided thousands of kilometers away.
The mother country, through its governor-generals and bureaucrats, governed and taxed Brazilians without their own consent. When the United Provinces declared themselves to be home of the freest people, obviously they did not consider citizens in the colonies as ‘its people’. To a large extent, colonial citizens were not Dutch. They were Ceylonese, Indian, Javan and Chinese. Only colonies in the New World, whose indigenous population surrendered to European diseases when Portugal ruled Brazil, could claim to be truly Dutch.
Governing conquered peoples without consent was one thing, but after suffering for over a century under Spanish suzerainty, the Dutch in Brazil could not understand why their own cousins across the sea now govern them as such. In truth, colonial rule was far less brutal as that of Spain. Brazilians could come and go as they pleased, to trade in goods, and (provided it was not overtly subversive) in ideas without duties or occupying soldiers looking over their shoulder. Nor did they have to fear the inquisition. Brazil was as divided in issues of religion as the United Provinces, though geographically opposite; in Brazil it was the Protestants who lived mostly in the south, and Catholics mostly in the north.
Brazil did have a sizable wealthy class, mostly plantation owners spread out across eastern Brazil. In the larger cities, the Brazilians lived largely as their cousins in the Old World lived; middle-class, but with many more local luxuries available. One might think that every home in Recife would have large quantities of sugar, coffee and cocoa. Not true, even in Brazil the prices were only half they would be in the Netherlands. Most of what was grown by the wealthy was intended for markets in Europe, where low supply and massive demands would make them even richer. Even with a century’s worth of hired-hands, the former slave-owning class of Brazilians still managed to keep a tight grip on their nation’s wealth. If not for manufacturing, shipbuildings, banking and trading, the cities would be filled with poor and unemployed. Rural Brazilians were worse off; they were the workers who tended the large plantations, with wages a market high in workers and not so high in jobs demanded. Their lives were hard and pockets poor, but never would rural Brazilians sink to the depths of despair that industrialization brought to cities of Britain, the United States and even the Dutch nations and colonies of the mid-Nineteenth Century.
It took a series of agreements for cooperation against Napoleon to drive for Brazilian self-determination and independence. King Maurice II and the exiled members of the Staaten-General knew that 1806 was not a year to be battling kinsmen. Some might argue that Brazil owes its independence to treaties signed under duress, for without Brazilian support, the United Provinces could not hope to free itself, and the entire Dutch colonial empire could have potentially disintegrated. Even after 1815, the Staaten-General of the United Provinces respected and acknowledged the Staaten-General of Brazil.
Waterloo
By 1813, and after the disastrous invasion of Sweden, it was clear to all European nations that France’s strength was all but sapped, its manpower bled nearly dry. It was when the Grande Armee retreated from Swedish territory that the powers of Europe, allied and opposed to Napoleon, joined together in one final coalition to topple the would-be Emperor. In late 1813, Maurice II landed an army of fifty thousand Netherlanders, New Amsterdammers, Brazilians, Ceylonese and even some Formosans, landed on the shores of Zeeland.
Regent Louis of Batavia met the invasion south of Delft, home of the House of Orange, with forty thousand of his own soldiers. Most were French, and loyal to Louis. The remainder were auxiliary units, in lieu of Ancient Rome. Their loyalty was questionable, and they were placed in front of the more loyal French. Sandwiched between their own people and the hated oppressors, the march of the Batavian Auxiliaries is on of the tragedies of Dutch history. Those that attempted to surrender or switch sides were mercilessly gunned down by the French behind them. The few that believed in the Revolution and willingly faced Maurice II, were gunned down by their own kinsmen. Out of the seven thousand Auxiliaries, it is estimated that fewer than one hundred survived.
Louis Bonaparte was indeed a ruthless and effective regent, but he did not inherit the genius of his brother. His army was routed within a day, Louis himself captured. Two days later, Maurice II rode into Delft, and later the Hague at the head of his victorious army. To great him, the populace of both cities draped every building within the city both Dutch Flags and orange banners. At one point, the Hague was awash in the color orange. Banners produced an orange colored sky, and endless ranks of soldiers produced a river of orange uniforms. For days afterward, Netherlanders celebrated their liberation, and dealt retribution to collaborators.
It was not until January 4, 1814, that Maurice rode his army into Amsterdam. Several regiments were sent to each of the Provinces, to flush out any self-proclaimed Batavians and to reestablish to rule of the House of Orange and the Staaten-General. Several months passed before the whole of the Netherlands were under Staaten-General control, and that the heirs of the Provinces were back in their homes. Not all were welcomed either; the Duke of Limburg was forced to abdicate in favor of his nephew, who stayed behind and lead resistance within Limburg.
While the Provinces were brought back under Dutch rule, the Swedes led an army that marched down the avenues of Paris. Napoleon had been toppled, and exiled to the island of Elba. For a moment, it appeared as if the Wars of Napoleon were over. But only for a moment. Napoleon soon escaped exile and returned to his throne in Paris. After the disastrous campaigns of 1813 and 1814, it was unlikely Napoleon would return France to the height of its power, but no nation was willing to take the chance.
Napoleon was corralled once again, this time on June 18, 1815, at the town of Waterloo in Brabant. For the entire day, Britain’s Duke of Wellington battled Napoleon to a stand still. Up until the last moment, it appeared as if Napoleon might escape to fight another day. Though the British and other English speakers give the credit of victory to Wellington, it was really more the arrival of Maurice II and the Dutch Army in the late afternoon, followed by the Prussian Army that forced a final surrender from Napoleon. One of these opponents he could defeat, but not the combined might of all three.
Napoleon was exiled again, this time to the British island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. There was no pretense of a miniature imperium as was on Elba. This time, Napoleon was a prisoner, and would spend the rest of his days under the watchful eye of British masters. The Dutch offered up their own navy, sending a ship to patrol the waters for weeks at a time. Napoleon escaped once, and nobody dared a repeat of Elba. After more than twenty years of warfare, Europe was ready for some well earned peace.
Congress of Vienna
After Napoleon’s second fall, the powers of Europe met in Vienna to redefine the borders of nations. For the Dutch, there was little gained, and plenty lost. For the final time, the question of Mons was addressed. The Congress decided that the city would stay under French rule, to which King Maurice II consented. Mons had been under French ruled for two decades, and he was not ready to wage war against all of Europe for just that city. Furthermore, Denmark was granted independence from the United Provinces, and a distant cousin of the last Danish king, Christian IV was put upon its throne. Denmark did not, however, receive Norway. The Grand Principality of Norway remained under Dutch rule. To this day, heirs to the Dutch throne are called Grand Princes of Norway.
The war set other nations on the coarse of ascendance. Prussia, a second-rate kingdom in the Eighteenth Century was now in virtual command of the northern German states. A North German Confederation was established with Prussia at its lead, the predecessor for the modern-day German Empire. Germany was not an immediate concern to the Dutch people and government. The decision to restore the House of Bourbon was initially opposed by the United Provinces. However, after seeing just how chaotic and uncontrollable republican France turned out to be, it was agreed that a constitutional monarchy would be in the United Provinces’s best interest.
With the House of Orange restored to the United Provinces, and ruling Brazil, and a new order in post-Napoleonic Europe, the stage was set for an expansion unlike any to come before. The organization known as the United Provinces was about to go global in a way it had never managed, even after two centuries of colonialism. With the fall of the French Empire, a golden age of imperialism would consume the Nineteenth Century and much of the world around it.

The Kiat
April 4th, 2010, 01:05 PM
VII) Empires
(1815-1900)
Constitution of the United Provinces
At the beginning of 1816, great and drastic changes hit the government of the United Provinces. Upon hearing more details of the Brazilian Constitution, and the liberties it granted its citizens1, the Dutch people began to demand change and reform within their own realm. After suffering under the Batavian Republic, then under its Regency, the Dutch people were in no mood to suffer injustice beneath its own king and parliament. If a bunch of colonists in Brazil were granted vast liberties, then why should the Provinces not receive the same. It did not matter that Brazil was its own nation, they were still colonists in the eyes of the Dutch, and the United Provinces were the mother country. Where the mother country leads, the colonies should follow, not the other way around.
Borrowing from his experiences in Recife, Maurice II, King of the United Provinces of the Netherlands and Emperor of Brazil, called forth a constitutional convention for the Netherlands. Rulers of each of the Provinces, along with the most respected of intellectuals across the nation, met in the King’s Palace in Delft. They would not suffer the months of summer heat that hit Philadelphia in 1787, but would rather wrap up the convention within as many weeks. Again, the first written Constitution of the United Provinces borrowed heavily from the Americans.
In contrast, the Dutch over-emphasized Provincial rights. The Provinces had governed themselves for the past two hundred years, there was no way any of them planned to surrender sovereignty to a stronger central government. However, where as before Napoleon the Netherlands
were confederated, Post-Napoleonic United Provinces grew into a tighter federated bond of provinces. The Staaten-General was given slightly more power to regulate commerce between the Provinces. At the time, it did not seem that big a change, but with the coming of the railroad, the Staaten-General would soon make its voice heard in a wide range of standardizations under the ‘Commerce Clause’.
The greatest changed to the Staaten-General came to the Second Chamber, now called the House of Electorates. For two centuries, the lower house of the Staaten-General consisted of many members who essentially bought or bribed their way into power. After the convention, the Electorates came into power by more legal and legitimate means, and were now chosen by a total male suffrage above the age of twenty.2 No longer could wealthy merchants and powerful companies decide the fate of the Dutch people.
The First Chamber, as in Brazil it too is called the Senaat, consisted of hereditary rulers of the Provinces along with other peers of the realm. It was not open to election, nor to new members without its own consent. As with the old Staaten-General, the Senaat handled matters concerning the Provinces, and the House handled matters concerning the people. Sometimes such matters were at odds, especially in the arena of taxation and tariffs.
As a Mercantile nation, the United Provinces earned between sixty and eighty percent of its revenue from a series of tariffs and customs, all of which were designed to protect homegrown business and domestic goods. Protectionism has always been a way of economic life in the Netherlands. Any foreigner attempting to import their own goods into the Provinces would be forced to pay a hefty fee. Various customs were imposed upon merchant ships trading through Dutch ports, or even if they happened to be just passing through. Throughout the entire history of the United Provinces, the average Netherlander never had to pay more than ten percent of his income to the government, though companies faced higher taxation.
The 1816 Constitution gave the King more power. Before, the Kings of the United Provinces served as an anchorage, a means to unite the Provinces. Now, the Kings and future Queens would be executive monarchs, another concept borrowed from the United States. Where the Americans would elect their chief executive on a four year basis, the Dutch would inherit their executives, each groomed from birth to serve as head of state. Unlike other constitutional monarchies of Europe, the Dutch King did not have the power to dissolve his parliament. The Staaten-General faced elections every five years, and then only the people could dissolve it.
A third branch of government, introduced to the Netherlands for the first time, balanced the power between Staaten-General and the new executive King, and would keep either from getting too powerful. The Supreme Court of the United Provinces would insure constitutional law was not violated. Independent courts were a new addition to Dutch judiciary system. The judges in the Supreme Court were nominated by the King, but confirmed by the House of Electorates. Provincial courts worked on a similar principle, though they were nominated by the lord of the Province, and confirmed by the Provincial Assemblies.
Industrialization
The United Provinces received a new government at the dawning of the Industrial Revolution. Starting in Britain decades before, the steam engine finally made its way to the Netherlands. For much of its history, mills were powered by winds blown off the North Sea or from the currents of tidal estuaries. These limited industry to specific areas of specific Provinces. The first steam engines were not introduced to Holland or any other coastal Provence, but to Luxembourg. The Duke of Luxembourg smuggled two engines out of Great Britain. The British monopoly on steam power ended and ushered in a new age in Luxembourg.
Industrialization greatly increased productivity within Luxembourg, but it came at a cost. Large quantities of coal were mined from the once pristine province, and the woods were replaced by forests of smokestacks. Endless streams of black smoke blotted out the sun, and filled the lungs of the citizens. Industrialization also improved efficiency at the cost of employment. Thousands of Luxembourgers found themselves in a situation that was seldom known in the Provinces; unemployed.
Shifts in supply and demand allowed for the owner, the company to lower its own wages. Though wages were never cut, they seldom rose, and when they did it was at below inflation levels. The price of living in Luxembourg was rising, but relatively speaking, income shrank. Textile mills, once few in Luxembourg, now dominated the landscape. Close proximity to iron mines and coal deposits allowed for Luxembourg, and later Liege and Limburg to become the steel production center of the United Provinces, and a territory coveted by both France and later the German Empire.
The steam engines were put to use in Holland and Zeeland not as engines of industry, but rather to power a system of pumps to both regulate water levels in the maritime Provinces and to pump large quantities of water out of new closed off areas. Steam increased the size of several Provincial economies (at a great cost to its people) but it literally increased the sizes of Holland and Zeeland. For centuries, the Dutch reclaimed land from the sea, but at small parcels at a time. With steam, large strips of land were risen from the shallow depths.
In some cases being at the bottom of a salt water sea, these new plots of land were not the best places to build new farms. Instead, they were used for urban expansion. As industry stripped jobs from other Provinces, Limburgers, Luxembourgers and various others from the southern Provinces made their way north. Though factories started to run on constant steam as opposed to sporadic winds, there was a shortage of menial laborers in Holland. Long since the commercial capital of Europe, Amsterdammers, and Hollanders in general, avoided the dangers of factory work.
And dangers were plentiful. Machines powered by steam could move twenty-four hours a day, and often did. Seldom did the early machines need to stop, and only when something broke. The Industrial Revolution created a sort of community rush. Owners of factories were only interested in producing more, and outproducing their rivals across the North Sea. Though the United Provinces were protected by tariffs, Dutch businessmen soon discovered other nations followed suit. In order to export their merchandise to Britain, which at the time was equally protective, factories had to cut cost.
Life was not pleasant in the United Provinces during industrialization. It was the lowest point in respect to quality of life since and after 1609. In Holland, such a demand for labor existed that anyone available over the age of eight were employed in the textile mills of Holland, almost all economic refugees from the southern Provinces. The work was long, twelve hours shifts, and exceptionally hazardous, especially for the youngest of workers. The children were made to crawl beneath the looms and mechanical weavers to retrieve scraps of wool, cotton and even silk. Working in the mills gave little and took much, including fingers and whole limbs.
The Industrial Revolution produced more than mechanical monsters, and replaced more than just human workers. In 1822, the first railroad was constructed from Amsterdam to the Hague, not only replacing horse-drawn carts, but threatening both canal and shipping interests across the nation. Unlike the mangling behemoths of the dimly lit factories, Netherlanders did lobby again the railroads. The shipping giants of the Netherlands, and owners of its various canals lobbied heavily against the railroad, claiming it would not only wreck the national and Provincial economies, but threatened the very tradition most sacred to the Dutch people; seafaring. With railroads, who would need ships? To some extent it was a success. Brabant’s Provincial Assembly passed legislation limiting both size and speed of the railroad engines.
One byproduct of steam power literally lit the roads to Amsterdam. IN the 1870s, the first electricity producing engines were operation in Holland. With the invention of the lightbulb, the demand for electricity soon increased. For decades, coal-fired power plants gave the Netherlands its power and choked its skies with soot. It was not until the beginning of the Twentieth Century that hydroelectric plants began to appear. For a nation that spent much of its existence building dams and dikes, hydroelectricity was a logical jump. Unlike many nations, including Brazil, the United Provinces did not need to dam rivers. More than enough water flowed between the North Sea and English Channel to permit tidal-generated power.
New Amsterdam Referendum
While industrialization began to strangle the lives of Netherlanders, New Amsterdammers were looking for revolutionary change of their own. In 1824, eight years after the official independence of Brazil, New Amsterdammers began to decide it was time for their own self-determination. For the past two hundred years, the colony was ruled by the Hague and by New Amsterdam’s own nobility. Town halls were the extent of self-rule in the colony, and those could easily be overruled by the Marquis.
In the eight years following Brazilian nationhood, New Amsterdammers organized and lobbied the Hague for the right to decide its own fate. By 1824, Maurice II agreed that if any Dutch colony3 wanted self-rule, then it should be subject to referendum. While addressing the Staaten-General, the United Provinces faced its first constitutional crisis; which chamber would decide if referendums would happen? The Senaat was in charge of Provincial affairs, and the possible independence of a colony fell into that category. However, it would be the people who voted in the referendum, so the House of Electorates claimed jurisdiction.
The five justices of the Supreme Court heard the cases of both chambers, and ruled that both did have jurisdiction in the case of referendum. In such a case, the King’s plan must pass both First and Second Chambers of the Staaten-General. It passed the House with a large margin, but stalled in the Senaat, whose concern was the loss of the colony could upset their own Provincial economies, since products from New Amsterdam would now be subject to tariffs. Also, with the loss of Denmark in the Congress of Vienna, the United Provinces consisted of eighteen Provinces, an even number. When the vote came up, it was divided nine to nine, and under the Constitution, it was up to the head of the Senaat, the King, to break the tie. Thus referendum passed, barely.4
In May of 1824, New Amsterdam was presented with three choices; 1) they could stay a crown colony of the United Provinces, with all the privileges bestowed upon Dutch citizens, including the right to elect its own assembly; 2) it could become a realm within the empire, sharing the same status as Brazil, in personal union with the United Provinces; or 3) it would be granted complete independence, and would face the world alone, sink or swim.
The third option was least popular. In 1824, New Amsterdam’s economy and trading sectors were far closer tied to the markets of Boston and Philadelphia than Amsterdam and Recife. It shared common interests with the Americans and its economies so closely tied, that any tariffs levied by the Hague would cause much harm to New Amsterdam’s livelihood. The colonists lived a mixture of new urban and frontier lifestyle known throughout the United States. Though the entire Mauritius River valley was now farmland, along with lands along the Delaware and Connecticut rivers, much interior land remained forested, however it too was under the control of logging interests. For their own interests, they harvest only sectors of the forest at a time.
Because most of the New Amsterdammer’s livelihood came from surrounding states, a write-in option appeared on the referendum, one the Staaten-General did not authorize; 4) Full political union with the United States and statehood. According to the United States Constitution, any new state simply required a constitution of its own and a republican form of government. The fourth option took fifty-three percent of the vote in the 1824 Referendum, more than a simple majority, thus eliminating any run-off vote.
Before the results even reached the Hague, New Amsterdammers went about constructing their future state government. The government was indeed republican, but the Dutch in general had no long-term experience in anything resembling a presidential republic, and up until 1816, were ruled mostly by a parliament with the blessing of the King. Thus New Amsterdam’s constitution constructed the only parliamentary republic within the United States, with only the most minimal of separations of power required by law. Thus the ‘governor’ position was filled by a First Minister, who was both head of state and head of government, and by a unicameral parliament, which both made and enforced laws. The courts were kept separate.
Word reached Washington long before it reached the Hague. In a way, this accelerated the process; since shortly after the Staaten-General learned of the unauthorized results, negotiators from the United States, an important trading partner of all the Dutch, arrived. There was little to negotiate; New Amsterdam made its choice, and the King swore to honor the results of the election. To go back on the King’s word, the Staaten-General would bring shame to the House of Orange, not to mention damage Dutch credibility around the world. Some in the Staaten-General wondered if statehood was not the whole plan all along. History has shown that the United States would not hesitate to send its own citizens to colonize another nation, then shortly after annex that nation; such as was with the case of Texas– and New Amsterdam was a far more strategic gem than Texas could ever hope to be.
On October 18, 1824, the rule of New Amsterdam changed from King Maurice II to President John Adams II5. On that date, the newly minted Parliament of New Amsterdam took over power , and was admitted as the 24th state. As a result from admission into the Union, one of New Amsterdam’s most famous offices was abolished. Federal law prohibited any title of nobility, and since the days of Michiel de Ruyter, New Amsterdam’s Provincial head was the Marquis of New Amsterdam. The de Ruyter family held that position until admission, where Marquis Edwin was given the choice of either renouncing his title or leaving the state. Titles were but a concept, but the business ventures the de Ruyter family ran in New Amsterdam were not. Edwin chose profit over title, and renounced his Marquisette, but was still the head of what is now known as Ruyter Enterprises.
Fall and Rise of the VOC
Due to its war of conquest in Bengal, by 1800, the VOC was in deep debt and forced to declare bankruptcy. As a result, in order to pay for the debt, the company was forced to cede all of its colonies to the United Provinces, thus making Kapenstaat, Ceylon, India, Java, Formosa, Hainan, Mozambique and the other Indonesian holdings, Crown Colonies of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. With bankruptcy, shareholders began to sell their shares, forcing the VOC to auction off its fleet and salvage whatever of value that could be used to payoff the investors. Trading posts were closed, shipping lanes dried up, and before the year was out, its royal monopoly revoked. The VOC looked on the verge of vanishing into the ashes of history.
The company did not fold. While most investors pulled out, a few of the employees, most notably the naval officers, bought many shares, now virtually worthless. The VOC was left with these officers and life-long employees and seven seaworthy ships to rebound from it collapse. Most in Amsterdam simply wrote off the VOC, declaring it would never rebound. With Napoleon ripping up the continent at the time, it was an easy assumption. With Napoleon doing just that, few even cared about the company that made Dutch domination of trade possible.
The new Board of Holders met in VOC headquarters in Amsterdam, one of the few VOC assets still in company hands, to plan their future. With only seven ships, the VOC was now a small fish in a large ocean. Where once the very mention of the VOC sent pirates running for their lives, now the seven ships had to face both predation from pirates and vengeance from various other companies the VOC once stepped upon. It was an uphill battle, and might have been a lost cause if not for one man; Maarten Minuit, the head of the new VOC.
Minuit decided the company should return to its origin mission; the spice trade. Though it could never hope to acquire a monopoly, there was plenty market to go around for cinnamon and nutmeg, commodities that made the VOC powerful to begin with. For the first few years of the Nineteenth Century, business was difficult. Former colonies were now flooded with a variety of ships, ranging from trading companies to private merchants. No longer could the VOC buy spices at their own prices. They were forced to bid the same as the rest of them, and compete over a limited supply of spices.
However oppressive VOC practices were, the company did not lose at of its ‘friends’. A number of old contacts in both Ceylon and India aided the rebounding VOC, managed to grant them access to goods before other merchants, and, with the assistance of kick-backs, were able to cut some corners for them. Bribery is a far cry from the practice of conquest the VOC once employed. The bribes could only advance them so far. No longer could they expend large amounts of capital in buying politicians and official, nor where they a pseudo-nation on to themselves.
When railroad made its first appearance in the United Provinces, the VOC was only up to eight ships, the latest a derelict they discovered floating off the coast of Angola. They stood to lose just as much as any shipping company. Bad enough to actually have to compete with other ocean-going cartels, but now this new fangled railroad threatened to reduce their share of the market even further. However, the VOC did not join those same shipping and canal interests in their lobbying crusade against the rail.
In 1835, Minuit convinced the Board of Holders to put everything on the line, in effect put the entire company up as collateral for a fifteen million guilder loan from the Bank of Amsterdam. With that many guilders, Minuit convinced the rest of the shareholders that instead of lobbying against the railroad, they should purchase the entire line. It was a gutsy move. During the 1830s, it was not even known if the railroad would be a reliable means of transport or just some passing fad. When word of the acquisition reached papers and markets across the United Provinces, the VOC’s final days were predicted.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Minuit not only made the railroad work, but by 1840, had the lines extended as far as Bruges and Arnhem. Within ten years, the company managed to pay off the loan, and afterward climb its way back to the top of the financial world. By 1843, the VOC had grown to the point where it was forced to reorganize. The maritime functions of the VOC would still go by that name, however the railroad division was named VOC Rail.
VOC Rail expanded its operations to ever corner of the Dutch world. By 1850, thousands of kilometers of railroad were laid across the Provinces, Brazil, South Africa, Ceylon, India, Java and Formosa. The rail made it possible for the VOC to squeeze its small time and local competitors out of the trade. In areas with little water access, the railroad allowed the VOC to exploit areas impossible to reach by ship. Not only that, but as locomotive engines improved in efficiency and performance, it rendered mule trains and horse caravans obsolete. With one engine pulling a dozen cars, VOC Rail could ships the same amount of merchandise as a thousand horses.
The gamble to purchase a once unknown quantity paid off for the struggling VOC. By 1850, the company rose back on to the Amsterdam Stock Market, and investors began to pour money into the company. VOC’s success shifted the lobbying of other companies away from the railroads back to the VOC. For merchants and traders around the world, their ultimate nightmare was coming true; the VOC was returning from the dead.
With improvements of steam engines, it became possible by the 1850s to install the engines on ships, producing the first self-propelled ocean-going vessels. As it was in the Seventeenth Century, the VOC capitalized on any new invention or idea that could earn it profit. In 1854, the VOC established a new division; VOC Cruise. VOC Cruise was built around two shipyards purchased in the 1840s and the development of steamers. For decades afterward, VOC ships retained their sails. The wind was free after all, however it was not always convenient. When the winds failed, steam could take over.
In response to the advent of steam, the VOC established a string of coaling stations around the world. To increase its profit even further, the VOC sold its excess coal to any ship that ventured into its stations. VOC Cruise shipped not only freight with the power of steam, but passengers as well. The same year the division was established, a Rotterdam-to-Recife passenger service, with travel time of days as opposed to weeks with only sail.
Further inventions out of the United States added to the VOC’s wealth. By the 1870s, VOC Comm sowed telegraph cables from the Provinces to Brazil, to Kapenstaat, all the way to Ceylon. The telegraph network cut transit time for information from days (and weeks for Ceylon) to a matter of minutes. Word of rebellion in India could reach the Hague before the rebels themselves even knew what was happening. However, it would take days to weeks to traverse the distance. The opening of the Suez Canal cut transit time to India dramatically. Again, by the 1870s, the VOC owned a sixty percent share of the early information market.
The Nineteenth Century saw a dramatic turnaround for the almost vanquished company, but its expansion and acquisitions of the Twentieth Century would send it to the top of the market. By the start of the Twenty-first Century, the VOC would be an over six hundred billion guilder company.6
Dutch Raj
After the first collapse of the VOC, the United Provinces inherited India along with other colonies around the Indian Ocean. By the 1820s, India consisted of a network of crown colonies and allied principalities spreading across southern and eastern India. Between 1820 and 1880, the Dutch extended their Indian Empire both north and westward, either bringing states into alliance and vassalage or outright conquering them. Those that submitted or allied themselves with the Hague enjoyed a degree of autonomy. Those that resisted, did not.
The Indian people did not enjoy the liberty long since established in Ceylon. Ceylonese natives owned their own plantations and manors along with descendants of VOC officials and of later Dutch colonists. For two centuries, the Dutch and Ceylonese existed as mostly equal. In 1837, a level of self-rule was established within the colony in the form of a Colonial Assembly, with both natives and those of Dutch ancestry allowed to vote for the Colonial Assembly, though the Governor-General of Ceylon was still appointed by the Staaten-General. It was not until 1911, that non-land owning Ceylonese were enfranchised.
Though close together, Ceylon and India experienced different colonial existence. Ceylon was the jewel in crown, a shining beacon of liberty. India was a land kept under the domination of the Dutch, with the only free natives being the allies. The Ceylonese owned their own land and ran their own businesses. The Indians were largely overseen by Dutch colonists and officials. The only common thread between the two lay in the fact that the mother country never interfered with native religions. The Hindus and Muslims of Bengal appreciated this one fact, as opposed to the British attempts at conversion.
Poverty was a rarity on the island of Ceylon, but it was the norm on the subcontinent. Large slums sprouted around Goa, Mumbai, Dacca and Calicut, much like mushrooms after a storm. Work in India involved mostly the extraction of various resources from the island; harvesting fields, working the mines and serving on Dutch estates. During the middle of the Nineteenth Century, English-style villas were all the rage in India. Any colonist with fashion sense would erect such a manor as soon as possible, including the rose hedges. However, the Dutch did add their own little touches to these villas, most notably in the form of tulips. Where Netherlanders colonized, that particular flower followed.
The Dutch Raj was an era of unification in India. Over the millennia, various empires spread across India, the most recent being the Mughals. Under these empires, the Indian peoples continued to speak their own languages and keep their cultural identity. The Dutch Raj offered India a common language for the first time in its history. Previous empires offered little incentive to speak the conquer’s language, but with the Dutch, if any of the native wished to communicate with the newest Raj, they would have to speak the foreigner’s language, for they refused to speak the natives’. Despite their distrust, at best, of foreigners, the natives were forced to concede that Dutch was a handy common language in a land with at least a dozen major languages of its own.7
The Dutch unification of India was not all about conquest and exploitation. During the Nineteenth Century, India began to develop a sophisticated infrastructure, strengthening trade and facilitating economic growth, though mostly for Dutch benefit. VOC Rail laid tracks across India as fast as the indigenous populace could work. The VOC imported foremen and managers, but left the remedial work to the underpaid natives, though railroad workers received more pay than the average Indian.
During the Dutch Raj, tens of thousands of Netherlanders immigrated to the colony. With unemployment reaching unbearable levels back home, the Hague was more than happy to send the less fortunate to India. When a colonist arrive, they were granted a lot of land approximating one square kilometer. With India already heavily populated, the only way colonists could receive land was at the expense of the natives. Millions of Indians were displaced and dispossessed. In order to support themselves, some were forced to work for the same colonists who displaced them, and work their former lands at a sub par wage.8
The same land once grew rice, wheat and other foods for the native population. Colonists were not interested in growing vast quantities of food stuff. Old fields of wheat and rice were ploughed under, replaced with tea. Innovations in the United States in the 1790s allowed for easy separation of seed from cotton, allowing cotton to become an economically viable option. Cotton was the new cash crop, and Nineteenth Century India was dominated by growing more and more of it. However, cotton depleted the soil, and soon colonists were forced to move to fresh lands, and displacing more natives.
Obsession with cotton lead to a series of famines across India. Colonists grew enough produce to feed themselves, but belatedly disregarded the native situation, transforming their previous farmed land into cash crops destined only for European consumers. The Famine of 1858 was the greatest tragedy in Dutch history. The biggest tragedy of the famine was how a people who prided themselves on their freedom could oppress and starve the native population. Some historians have proposed the famines were orchestrated, as a means to control the population. A hungry people were a weak people, and a weak people could not rise up against its oppressors.
By comparison, Ceylon was paradise. Rebellion was rare and the middle-class was on the rise. For the most part, plantations and estates were divide by various trading families from previous centuries. However, quite a few of those employees were the natives of Ceylon. Unlike the Indians, native Ceylonese did quite well for themselves. Their plantations were not stocked with the leaching cotton, but rather with fields of cinnamon. Though many other crops were produced on Ceylon, cinnamon was its most important cash crop. European demand for the spice had never wavered in two centuries.
The colonial capital of Colombo began a transformation into Amsterdam East. Colombo was the trading center of the entire Indian Ocean. Merchants from Dutch colonies in Indonesia to the east, and Ottomans and free Arabs in the west, all made the voyage to trade their goods in the Ceylonese capital. Netherlanders were more than happy to take these same goods back to the United Provinces, for a substantial profit.
Where profit is earned, banks as sure to follow. The Bank of Colombo was established in 1839, shortly after limited self-determination was instituted. With a steady bank, money was loaned and new businesses began to sprout across the city. The most prosperous of Colombo’s citizens could afford to abandon the crowded apartment flats of the city proper, and build luxurious mansions on the outskirts of town. These estates were reminiscent of estates in Britain or America more so than the Provinces. Though the Dutch were a well-to-do people, not many were wealthy, and in a land with high concentration of populations, large estates were a very expensive investment.
Labor was imported from India at cheaper prices to maintain the estates. It was not just the colonists that brought in foreign workers, but the natives did as well. When native wages rose too high, Ceylonese simply went abroad, searching for the desperate, those who would work for half-wages. To an extent, the natives were assimilating to the ways of the colonists. Assimilation was not a one-way avenue. The colonists took to eating native cuisines, adopting some native dress and even adopting native architecture, producing a unique Oriental-Dutch hybrid design.
The adaptation on Ceylon caused little unrest on the island, where as India was always a hotbed for turmoil. Indians who were subjects of the Princely States fared even worse than their direct-ruled counterparts. In the crown colonies, Indians were subject to Dutch law and, though treated like second-class citizens, were citizens of the Dutch empire nonetheless. However, India was a vast land, and administrating the entire colony was difficult under the best of circumstances. Decades would pass before quality of life would rise to acceptable levels.
King William VI
Born Willem Frederick George van Oranje on December 6, 1792, young William’s life was spent in the turmoil of the French Revolution and exiled to Brazil. In 1815, William lead a division of Dutch soldiers in the campaign of liberation, including the final victory at Waterloo. In 1816, he was married to Princess Paulina of Sweden. Unlike times in the past, the Staaten-General did not view this as grounds for alliance. Sweden had an uneasy peace with its Ottoman neighbors in the south, and had little in the means of competition on its Far Eastern border.
On October 7, 1840, Maurice II died after a long struggle with what is believed to be lung cancer. Maurice II was know for his fondness of Brazilian tobacco. William returned to the tradition of being crowned in Liege. It should be noted that Maurice II was the only Dutch monarch not to be crowned in Liege, though a ceremony was preformed their after Maurice’s return from exile. William kept his name, a long standing tradition in the Netherlands, and was crowned King William VI.
William VI’s reign was short, lasting only nine years, though it was no uneventful. Industrialization in the southern Provinces caused an increase in poverty, an ailment once considered foreign. With nothing to do, no work to be had, and little food to be eaten, the unemployed were desperate. Desperate people do desperate things. Several textile mills in Upper Gelders and Namur. Venlo in Upper Gelders was held by exploited workers. The workers made no demands and seemed content to destroy the mills and execute the owners. The Worker’s Uprising of 1843 is widely noted by Karl Marx when he developed his own theories of socialism.
The Count of Upper Gelders called forth his own militia, and demanded assistance from the Hague. William VI traveled to Venlo at the head of a small army, only eight thousand. He had hoped to end what could only be called an uprising peacefully. He met with ‘leaders’ of the uprising in an attempt to negotiate. Negotiation was impossible, because the workers had no demands. No demands aside from destroying the mechanical monstrosities and returning the Province to the way it was in the days of their fathers.
As it is widely known, progress can not be reversed. Seldom can it be stopped. Even if laws were passed banning technology, history has taught us that there will always be those who will simply ignore laws, and nations have their own leaders that will disregard the law whenever it suited their purpose. With no grounds for negotiation, William was forced to unleash his army to crush the uprising. Over two thousand workers were killed.
The ‘Venlo Massacre’ weighed heavily upon William, and the people never forgave him for his action, nor did they let him forget. The newly freed media condemned the action, and independent presses published pamphlets calling for everything from his removal from the throne, to his removal from life on earth. In 1849, William VI became the only Dutch monarch to abdicate his throne. He stepped down in favor of his brother, Alexander, and left the Provinces in a self-imposed exile. He spent the rest of his life with his wife and her family in Stockholm.
King Frederick II
Born Alexander Frederick van Oranje, Frederick II took the throne on September 5, 1848, as soon as the Staaten-General ratified the Act of Abdication. His rule was one of the only stretches in Dutch history that peace dominated the political landscape. The United Provinces had not fought against a European opponent since 1815. His reign saw a slowdown in expansion in India, leaving the interior states of India and tribal lands on the upper Indus River to be dealt with by his successor.
After the violence in Venlo, Frederick II went out of his way to promote peace and prosperity. Moved by the atrocious conditions under which the Venlo workers suffered, he pushed for the Staaten-General to create and pass laws protecting the worker, protecting his people. In his mind, the British were impoverished; the French were impoverished; the United Provinces were suppose to be free of poverty. For two centuries it was a rarity, but the facts of industrial life changed the whole plan. It was now a land ruled by the law of supply and demand. Mechanization increased productivity while decreasing labor, and that created a surplus of workers, and that the owners and capitalist fully exploited to their advantage.
Factory owners around the United Provinces petitioned against any such laws. They claimed that to pass these laws, the government would be interfering in another of the Netherlands’ sacred institutions; commerce. The Staaten-General went out of its own way to avoid interfering with the economy, aside from placing import tariffs, standardizing currency and the gauges of rail. The capitalists convinced many that by passing the laws, they would force prices upwards, and that it was the capitalists that had the people’s best interest in mind; that being lower costs, and passing those savings onto the consumer.
In reality, costs were cut, but factory owners simply pocketed the profits and continued to sell
at prices comparable to pre-industrial prices9. There were two things Frederick II loved; peace and liberty. He viewed poverty as another means to subjugate the people. Even in a nation as liberty-minded as the United Provinces, Frederick was seen as a liberal. His critics expanded beyond just factory owners. Various bankers, one of th cornerstones of the Dutch economy, went as far as charging him with attempting to nationalize the banks.
These charges caused a rush on many banks throughout the United Provinces, one of the leading factors of the recession during the 1850s. Times were rough during the 1850s, but not nearly as bad as two hundred years prior, when the English blockaded the low countries coast during the First Anglo-Dutch War. It was bad enough, however, to see ninety-three percent of the House of Electorate loose their job in the election of 1856.10 The 1850s were a time of great change Europe; two monarchies were toppled, and revolution was rampant across Germany and the Balkans. For a time, it was doubted that the House of Orange could survive the crisis.
Revolution did not come to the United Provinces, at least not violent revolution. The Staaten-General did pass some of the King’s recommendations, including limiting work to eight hours a day per worker. If a factor ran twenty-four hours a day, then it must hire three shifts worth of workers, thus lowering unemployment. The Worker’s Safety Act was one of the most progressive measures passed in the 1850s, if not the entire century. It was the first act that dictated what a company could and could not do to its employees. Injuries in the textile mills decreased, as did poverty in the surrounding area. Though the quality of living stayed below its pre-industrial levels, it did steadily increase over the next three decades.
Formosa and Hainan
On the other side of the world, industrialization was in full swing in the Dutch colonies of Formosa and Hainan. Over the past two hundred years, Formosa grew from a wild island inhabited by aboriginals into the most advanced territory in all of East Asia. Though it would not be until the 1840s that the steam engine made its way to Formosa, the descendants of the Chinese workers quickly adapted it to increase productivity in their own textile mills.
Throughout it history, Formosa struggled to keep up with European and later American demands for silk. The fabric was both luxurious and highly prized from royalty to aristocracy right down to the lowliest of shopkeepers. Formosa was a land that produced many desirable commodities. Porcelain coffee cups were in demand in Amsterdam’s cafes. The original natives of Formosa, once they learned how to make porcelain, produced some of the most elegantly designed pottery in the world. It was not long after Dutch colonization that Formosan vases were as prized as their Ming counterparts.
Formosa shares many similarities to Ceylon. Chinese immigrants and natives both thrived along side their Dutch colonial rulers. Until 1800, the island was sole domain of the VOC, and the company was far more interested in productivity than any ridiculous racial ‘theories’ that came out of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Europe. The only significant enclaves of ethnic Dutch on the island were around Taipei and New Antwerp. When a wave of Dutch nationalistic colonialism spread out after Napoleon, Formosa simply assimilated any of those such colonists into its unique culture.
By 1850, all the different peoples of Formosa considered themselves Formosan, and not Han or Dutch. When recent immigrants asked about the native Formosans, those of Dutch ancestry simply told them they were looking at a Formosan. Some tension existed between the long-time Formosans and the recent arrivals from the Provinces. The newcomers attempted to press their new ideals upon the locals, and were appalled by some of the local customs. The biggest shock came in the form of sushi and sashimi. Both dishes were not native to the island, but after decades of trade with the isolated Japanese, some of their cuisines were exported along with their silver and copper.
Newcomers were often disappointed by their own crop failures. Like many Europeans, they brought along their familiar produce. Their attempts to spread wheat across the island failed, as did their attempt to introduce sheep. Wool? This is Formosa, we grew silk here. The newcomers were accustomed to seeing silk as a luxury, one they could afford back home, but not in sufficient quantities to cloth themselves. Imagine their surprise when they finally discovered that most Formosan dress was made from silk.
Between 1850 and 1880, waves of newcomers gradually assimilated into the established Formosan society. They ate their rice, wore their silk and worked in citrus groves and mulberry orchards. Of the various ideas imported by the newcomers, one caught on quickly. Instead of waiting for shipments of steel to arrive from the United Provinces or Brazil, several enterprising newcomers established their own series of steel mills around the island. By 1880, Formosa was the fourth highest producer of steel; behind Brazil, the United States and the recently established German Empire.
To the south of Formosa and China itself lay the small island of Hainan. In 1664, the VOC captured the island from the Manchu Dynasty ruling China. The Manchu had little interest in the island, and offered little resistance against the annexation. In truth, internal turmoil more than disinterest kept the Manchu from responding, that and the fact that the VOC’s private navy was more than capable of cutting China off from external trade.
The VOC did little with the island. It was made a trading center for southern China, and numerous Chinese worker were brought in to work the tea plantations. By 1667, the Dutch ruled the seas, and the only way the English would get their tea was through Dutch traders. Throughout the Nineteenth Century, Hainan remained a predominately agrarian economy, more a colony of Formosa than the United Provinces.
Attempts to establish sugar plantations on Hainan met with marginal success. Sugar was always in demand in Europe, but with Brazil, Formosa and the Indonesian colonies supplying sugar for the Dutch, it was an unwise move to enter an already crowded market. Very few colonists from the United Provinces made the move to Hainan until the Twentieth Century, though by then the natives spoke as much Dutch as they did Cantonese.
The Indonesian Colonies
Of all the colonies in the Indonesian Reaches, Java has always been the most critical to the Dutch economy. Java and the rest of Indonesia share an analogous relationship with Ceylon and India. Java was always the island of liberty, and by 1850, was not only the heaviest populated island, but also the densest. Where many of the larger islands remained primeval jungles, Java was transformed to a cornucopia of the spice trade.
Spices were the original reason for venturing to the East Indies. If not for the lure of cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and ginger, then most likely Europe would have left them alone. Java had its own thriving culture when the Dutch arrived, and VOC conquest of the island did little to change that. The native Javanese simply took what they saw was great about the foreigners and made it their own. VOC employees were forced to make do with what was on the island. Though Javanese restaurants became all the rage in Twentieth Century Europe and America, the food was not enjoyed by the first colonists, who viewed it as very foreign.
When the VOC centered its trade around the cities of Batavia and Jakarta, secondary businesses moved in. Where ever trade is centered, it takes little time for the bankers to appear. By 1850, the Bank of Jakarta was the largest such bank in the East Indies, handling accounts across Indonesia, and as far as the British colonies in the Philippines and the French in Indochina. With large flows of capital moving through its ports, Jakarta grew like no other colonial city.
At a time when Manilla, Saigon and Sydney were nothing but simple houses and dirt roads, Jakarta boosted the largest paved roads in the region. More than fifty percent of the city’s roads were paved with cobblestone and flagstone. The roads were reminiscent of ancient Rome’s highways, and just as sturdy (amazing considering the level of rainfall Jakarta receives in comparison with Italy). Though wood was plentiful throughout the region, houses in Jakarta was built from mason and stone, materials impervious to termites.
When steam arrived in Java, it was not used immediately for factories. The island dealt mostly with exports of produce, not production. Instead, the city boasted one of the most advanced water and sewer systems of the Nineteenth Century. On an island where tropical disease was an annual occurrence, the Javanese (both native and colonists) invested in pumps that would force waste water to flow away from the city, and often directly into the sea. Nearby swamps, endemic with malaria, were systematically drained by the new pumps, and its land quickly settled with an influx of Dutch, German and even Swedish colonists flocking to the eastern Land of Opportunity.
The other islands in the regions did not fare as well as Jakarta. Up until the 1800s, the VOC and the Dutch left them largely alone. The only contact with natives was in the form of business, with Javanese trading goods imported from Europe and elsewhere to acquire rare commodities of Sumatra and Borneo. Most notably was the wildlife itself. There was always trade in hide, tusks and horn from the wildlife of Sumatra, but with the advent of menageries and later zoos, Sumatra became an attraction for zoological collections. Rare animals of Sumatra, such as tigers, tapirs, orangutans and the sun bear were captured from the wild an hauled off to mid-Nineteenth Century zoos across Europe and the Americas.
Around the same time that zoos grew in popularity, Formosa was in the midst of industrialization. In the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, coal and iron were dominate, but in Indonesia, the Formosans found an abundance of minerals. First and foremost was gold, not a very useful building material before the digital age, but sought after nonetheless. Much of the gold mined on Borneo found its way into the vaults of banks on Java and Ceylon.
For the interest of Formosa, copper, tin and nickle were extracted from Sumatra, and tin, then later bauxite came from Borneo. With both islands, the United Provinces established colonies dedicated to rubber plantations. Rubber was rapidly becoming a vital resource in industrialization. Everything from hoses to tires to seals were made from the extract of the rubber tree. Coconut plantations also sprung up along the coast of Borneo. Coconuts proved popular in Dutch markets during the 1890s, but were far less useful than rubber or tin.
Not all of Borneo was conquered during the 1880s and 90s. The Sultanate of Brunei maintained a degree of independence, though like many princely states of India, it was a vassal to the Hague. The Sultan turned to allying himself with the Dutch in Java because he feared invasion by the British or French more than Dutch overlordship. The Sultanate was largely independent in its own internal affairs. In return, they offered anchorage to the Royal (Dutch) Navy, and after the discovery of oil under the Sultan’s domain, exclusive rights were given to Royal Dutch Shell, and its later incarnation VOC Shell.
Farthest of the Indonesia holdings was New Holland. New Holland was not an island of itself, but rather part of a continent. In 1751, colonists trying to escape the wars in Europe and the tyranny of the VOC established the town of Perth, on the continent’s western shore. At the time, Australia was known as the southern continent, as it was believed to be connected to Antarctica. Further exploration, including the discover of Tasmania and what would become New Zeeland disproved that theory.
Perth was not intended to be a haven for traders or a land of cash crops. It was a simple experiment in transporting a piece of old Holland to New Holland. On this most arid of continents11, the need for dikes and levies did not exist. The Perth river was a very seasonal river, but offered sufficient irrigation to support the colony. The wheat and corn farms augmented the nutritional intake of the colonists, which derived much of its food from the sea. The colony would not be agrarian but rather pastoral. Sheep by the hundreds were imported to what seemed an empty continent, and Perth developed a small wool and textile trade.
Constant vigilance was required to guard the sheep against the wild dogs of Australia, believed to have arrived from early southeast Asian traders, at least two thousand year ago. To range with the herds, the colonists naturally brought horses, but these animals did not far so well in the arid landscape. One colonist, whose name has been lost to history, stumbled upon the idea of importing camels. The beasts served Arabs well, and were the backbone of the ancient Silk Road, surely they could handle Australia’s sandy landscape. Camels did all too well on the continent; a handful escaped into the night in the early years, and their offspring soon spread across the continent, browsing where the indigenous wildlife did not.
The VOC made no attempt to take control of New Holland. They saw little profit in the small time wool outfit, especially when they were making millions of guilders in trading of silk. During the Age of Napoleon, the British seized the colony. Their pretext was to defend their own Australian colony against the potential of the French gaining a foothold in New Holland. With the Congress of Vienna, the British returned New Holland to the Dutch, who for the first time, took direct control over the colony.
Unlike so many other colonies, New Holland’s was not a story of conquest. A few natives did live in Australia. The aborigines were as wild as the marsupials that occupied the continent. They had little of value, and more over, had little concept of land ownership. Owning nothing of interest and having no territorial conflicts, the New Hollanders were content to leave the aborigines alone. Until 1860, the colonists clung to the Australian coast.
In 1861, sheep herders in the interior stumbled across a dry river bed. At the bottom of this bed, one of the ranchers notices something shimmering in the light. What he found sparked the New Hollander gold rush. Once word spread, much faster thanks to steam-powered transportation, prospecting veterans of the American West flocked to Australia, along with adventures from Brazil, Europe and China. Impact on the Aborigines was nearly disastrous.
The Americans were the most ruthless of the bunch. They treated the Australian natives even worse than they did their own Indian population. Americans, along with Europeans, often shot down who bands of Aborigines, who happen to be currently residing on land rich in gold. Native populations plummeted as the plundering of the land, along with introduction of new diseases, took their toll. Many British Australians simply brought their own practice of extermination to the Dutch sector of the continent. Along with the miners, came the scoundrels, the thieves, and most damaging to the native culture, the missionaries.
New Holland had not government of its own, and the governor was appointed by the Governor-General of Indonesia. Jakarta had its own interests, mainly seeing that as much of that gold as possible ended up in the Bank of Jakarta’s vaults. The original colonists of Perth were soon overruled by outside interests. Their own exodus from New Holland was a long time coming. Before Napoleon established the Batavian Republic, the Staaten-General decided that the coasts of New Holland made for an ideal place to ship prisoners, an idea copied from the British. Though the United Provinces had far fewer criminal elements than the United Kingdom, exporting some of the vagrants and debtors was seen as desirable.
The New Hollanders, in 1862, began to pack up and leave for New Zeeland, a land itself that was pacified during the 1840s. They continued their pastoral lifestyles, this time uninterrupted by the discoveries of precious metals or gems. However, some New Hollanders found a way to fight back to influx of miners. When a gold rush occurred, it was not the prospectors who grew rich, but the merchants that traded with them. Many traders packed carts in Perth for the barest of minium prices, rode inland to the mining camps, and charged ten to twenty times the price they paid. The miners, rich with gold, did not feel the least bit sorry about paying ten guilders for an apple, thirty for a sack of flour. That combined with the inevitable rift-raft of mining camps, gambling and prostitution, ensured that few miners left New Holland rich. Indeed, few left period, opting to settle the land, instead of shelling out fare for the voyage home.
Abyssinia
By 1852, many traders and merchants, along with captains of every ship under the flag of the United Provinces, were desperate for a short cut to the Indies and all their riches. From Europe to India, the only possible shortcut lay across the Sinai, in the Ottoman Empire. A resurgent VOC proposed building a railroad across the isthmus, ensuring shorter passage to the Orient. Shorter passage, and a larger cut of the profit.
In contrast to the VOC, investors from Britain and the United Provinces, along with a joint financial adventure by the Banks of Amsterdam and England, proposed cutting a sea-level canal right across the land. At first, the VOC attempted to oppose the plan, by convincing the Turks that this would cut off their African territories from their Asians ones. Only after some debate within the Board of Holders, did the VOC decide to invest in the plan. If they were wrong, then they lost some investment but could still build their rail. If they were right, they would own a twenty-five percent share of the Suez Canal.
The Anglo-Turkish War of 1852-54, saw Egypt wrested from the control of the Ottoman Empire. While still staying strong in the Balkans, where it only had an Austro-Turkish War every generation. The borders changed little, a kilometer south here, a few north there, only to be reversed by the next war. North Africa was another matter. Aside from the area in which a canal would be built, the Dutch had little interest in North Africa. France and Spain spent considerable resources nibbling away at Ottoman control, and with the lose of Egypt, that left only Libya in Ottoman control. That province would be lost by 1901, to the Italian Federation.
After two years worth of surveying, the ground breaking of the Suez Canal occurred on November 14, 1856. For twelve years, labors native to Egypt under the supervision of British and Dutch engineers excavated the short cut between India and Europe. Relations between laborer and supervisor were cordial, but the tension between Dutch and British waxed and waned between 1856 and 1868. At the start, there was much debate as to who should be in charge. The British were further down the road in industrialization and invested half of the capital. On the other hand, who in Europe knew more about diverting water than the Dutch.
The entire project was nearly derailed in 1863. When the succeeding states of the United States invaded Virginia and defeated the Union army at Manassas, on Union soil, the British took steps to recognize the Confederate States of America and prepared to intervene on their behalf. The Dutch, who always had strong commercial ties with the United States bluntly informed British ambassadors in the Hague that if the British intervene on behalf of the Confederates, then the Dutch and Brazilians would intervene on behalf of the Americans.
With a regional civil war threatening to spill over on to the global theater, Emperor Napoleon III attempted to mediate a settlement between the two warring factions in America. France’s own relations with the United States were occasionally strained and at the time they were not particularly close. In truth, France had more to gain by Confederate independence in that they could acquire concessions for cotton. Further more, the French, though not a party to the Suez Canal, had an interest in seeing the canal open. With the American War of Succession peacefully resolved, the British and Dutch continued work on the Suez Canal, albeit at an accelerate rate. Both parties would be happiest if the canal opened as soon as possible.
The opening of the Suez Canal brought a boom to a long forgotten Dutch outpost. At the end of the Forty Years War, the United Provinces absorbed all of Portugal’s colonial possessions. During the last decade of the war, Dutch privateers and raiders destroyed most of Portugal’s trading posts along the eastern coast of Africa, except for one. For centuries, Mogadishu was of little importance to the VOC or the Dutch Empire. With the opening of the canal and shifting of world trade route, Mogadishu saw an exponential increase in traffic.
The sleepy trading post soon boomed to a population of fifty thousand. Traders of all variety, mostly Arabs, immigrated to the port. With commerce, piracy was often to follow. The Horn of Africa was infested with pirates by 1870, all of which that preyed upon Suez traffic. The British were based around the canal itself and for the most part out of range of pirate raids. The Dutch continued their own battles with piracy for years, until thousand of pirates raided Mogadishu.
The Raid on Mogadishu galvanized the Dutch, and in 1871, the Staaten-General had an army of fifty thousand razed in the Provinces and Brazil, along with summoning the largest Dutch fleet since the Raid on Medway. Thousands of Dutch soldiers poured ashore in Somali lands, crushing pirate nests and occupying the surrounding lands. In order to stop piracy, the Staaten-General decided it best to occupy and annex the entire coast of the Horn of Africa. With no coast, the pirates lacked bases of operations.
King Theodore of Ethiopia sent his own army to battle the Dutch soldiers along the Eritrean coast, claiming it as his own. Negotiations broke down before they even started when the Dutch delegates informed Theodore that his inability to control the pirates meant he waved the rights to the land. The First Abyssinian War was a short, victorious war, and by December of 1871, the Dutch were in complete control of the coast, though the Ethiopians were granted access to the sea along with a Dutch monopoly on its trading.
Within seven months, Theodore rejected the treaty and called up his army. With telegraph wire connecting all parts of the Dutch Empire, King Frederick II was not pleased. The King was the one who insisted on lenient terms towards the Ethiopians, and felt personally betrayed. Before the Staaten-General could act, the King ordered the Dutch army in Abyssinia to strike first. The Second Abyssinian War lasted for two years, in which tens of thousands of Netherlander and Brazilian soldiers died, mostly of disease setting in after wounding. The Chief of Staff, Colonel Piet Guilder, was the highest ranking death, and his demise came not from bullet or disease, but from the bite of a cobra he happed to step upon.
By 1875, King Theodore was in exile in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a nation with a large Orthodox population, and the Kingdom of Ethiopia dismantled. In its place, Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Somali lands were untied into a single entity; Abyssinia. It was also the only Dutch colony not dominated by Europeans. Aside from the city of Mogadishu, and various coffee plantations in the Ethiopian highlands, the natives were left to their own devises.
The native governed themselves, under the watchful eyes of colonial ‘advisors’, and policed themselves, again aided by various Dutch colonial units. They taxed themselves, and with all colonies, a percentage was diverted for the Hague. Overall, Abyssinia behaved more like a Indian princely state held in vassalage than a rebellious province under armed occupation. The influx of Dutch goods drastically changed the region’s economy, but its political and cultural identity remained largely unchanged, until the Hague took a more direct control over the colony during the years leading up to the Great War.
King Frederick III
When Frederick Willem Julius van Oranje took the throne on October 7, 1880, he inherited a recently growing problem in southern Africa from his father. In 1824, the Staaten-General of the United Provinces passed the Homestead Act12, which granted Netherlanders the right to a square kilometer of land in Kapenstaaten and territory beyond, provided they worked to improve the land13. The influx of colonists were generally welcome in the city of Kapenstaat, but met with hostility when they traversed into the interior.
Since the 1730s, Boers had steadily been leaving Kapenstaat for new lands free of VOC interference. By 1830, the Boers established a series of quasi-states in southern Africa; Transvaal, New Orange, Natalia and Johannestaaten. The republics as they called them were barely a government in the modern sense. They possessed little power, and served mainly as a means to mediate disputes and collect revenue for the general improvement of the land for all its inhabitants.
When th newcomers arrived on the Veld, they quickly razed fences, ploughed under grasses, dug irrigation and general disrupted the Boer’s primarily pastoral lifestyles. True, the Boers did grow produce, but they lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle similar to the natives of the region. Their tendency to move about was another reason while the Boer governments were marginally effective. Homesteaders simply ignored the Boer governments and banded together for protection. When Boer herders entered a new township, the homesteaders greeted them not with open arms, but loaded ones.
Along with new technology and different agriculture, the homesteaders brought with them an alien concept of race, that was largely absent in Eighteenth Century Kapenstaat. To the newcomers, the European Race was superior, and because of the ways of natural selection, were the fittest to rule. The Boers had their own tensions with the natives, such as disputes over grazing land, and even a war of conquest in Natalia against the Zulu, but never did they view the natives as inferior, different perhaps, but just as human as themselves. During VOC rule, more than sixty percent of the Boers were male, and with limited Dutch woman about, the men took native wives.
Along with wives, the Boers adopted several other aspects of native life, such as clothing and lodging. The conservative full wool dressings of the United Provinces were ill suited to the Veld (except perhaps during the nights when temperatures plummeted in the arid land). Out of necessity, they abandoned wool and took to wearing thinner cloth similar to the natives, though European modesty still existed and most of the Boer’s bodies were covered.
With New Amsterdam now an American state, Kapenstaaten became the choice location for emigrants departing the Provinces. India promised riches, but southern Africa offered a new start. Most of the newcomers came from the southern Provinces, escaping from the industrial monster consuming the workforce. However, if not for the efficiency of industrialization, far fewer Netherlanders would have made the journey to new lands.
By 1880, conflict between the Boers and homesteaders was inevitable. The wave of newcomers gradually reduced to a trickle, but the homesteaders multiplied at the same rate as the Boers. When homesteaders matured and left home, they consumed more land and drove Boer livestock to the further corners of the Veld. Homesteaders fired the first shots as new arable land became scarce and competition increased.
Driving off the livestock was not enough, the homesteaders began to round up the livestock or just destroy the Boer’s herds. In response, the Boers defended their herds with a ‘shoot first and forget the questions’ attitude. Though they may have shared mostly peaceful relations with their fellow humans, most Boers owned a firearm of one sort or another, for hunting game or driving off predators. One encounter the homesteaders had not experience was that with a lion. Boers were quite familiar with the largest of Africa’s cats.14
Further to the desire for land, came the discovery of resources. Near Kimberley, miners from Kapenstaat came across diamonds in a layer of coal there were extracting. At first it was just a few gems, little did the miners know they stumbled upon the largest source of diamonds ever found. The miners and more over the mine owners, attempted to keep the discovery secret, but to little avail. Though diamonds do not spark the imagination they way gold would15 it still captured the attention of enough adventurers to flood the Veld with more strangers. If the invasion of prospectors was not bad enough, the mine owners added insult to injury by taking the diamonds and running. To the Boers, any mineral found under common lands belonged to all the peoples of Transvaal and the profits should be shared clans and family, both white and black. It would be only after the Boer Wars that Transvaal would gain control over the diamonds, and establish the Kimberley Mining Company to further exploit the resource.
Isolated shooting and retaliation bloomed into full-blown civil warfare, starting in Transvaal in 1881. An army of hundreds of homesteaders cross the Vaal River, attacking Boer and native villages for a depth of seven kilometers, driving both human and cattle away, and clearing the land for horticultural usage. For the most part, such attacks were isolated to a single village and had not yet been cleared to this extent. Word of the raid spread to Pretoria, the then center of government for the nation of transients, and word went out calling for the Boers of Transvaal to go commando.
In the days before the Boer Wars, commando was simply what the Boers called patrols. Along with taxes, the Boer men over the age of fourteen donated one week out of the year to patrol the countryside around their settlements. For the most part, these were anti-predator patrols, intended to drive off lions and leopards. Occasionally, though defeated years before, the Zulu would mount raids against the Boers and their allies.
In 1881, thousands of Boers were called forth for commando, but not just to patrol. The Boers planned on driving these newcomers south of the Vaal and back into New Orange. However, word spread from the New Oranje side of the river to the town of New Orange. The Orange Boers called forth their own commando, to patrol the southern side of the river. In the following weeks, thousands of homesteaders were driven between the two rag-tag armies. Many escaped, but upwards of thirty percent of the homesteaders were killed. Their corpses were left to the hyena as a warning against further homesteader incursions.
Instead of heeding the warning, homesteaders sent word for assistance to Kapenstaat, asking for protection against the marauding bands of Boers. The moment the colonial government intervened, six years of brutal warfare followed. At first, the Boers just wanted to keep the homesteaders from seizing their grazing lands, but when it was clear Kapenstaat favored the homesteaders, calls for full independence rang out across the Veld. Dutch forces in southern Africa were, though far more than the Boers could muster, not nearly enough to quash the rebellion.
The Boers were severely outnumbered, but knew the terrain and environment so well, they could almost blend in with the background. The lacked uniforms, and often tied brush and grass to their clothing, further camouflaging into the Veld. In contrast, the Royal Armies of the United Provinces and Brazil, along with colonial brigades wore the same bright orange uniforms issued to them during the French Wars. Though they dirtied quickly and blended in better with the savanna than forests of India, they were still obvious. The fact that Dutch still used the tactic of marching hundreds of soldiers abreast only made them easy targets for Boer sharpshooters.
The Dutch easily captured what passed for capitals in all the Boer Republics, but against conventional wisdom, the Boers did not capitulate or sue for peace. They continued a guerilla war in the wilderness. Though fewer in numbers, they scored casualties in higher proportions to their adversaries. It is estimated that nearly twenty thousand Dutch were killed during the Boer Wars, without forcing a single Boer army to surrender. What Dutch commanders failed to realize at the time was that the Boers had no ‘armies’ in the European sense. Their bands were one thousand at the most.
At first, the war was popular back home. The press in the United Provinces sold the war as an attempt to reincorporated lost cousins back into Dutch society. The fact the Boers did not want incorporation was beyond comprehension. Surely they would welcome the luxuries from across the empire and the advances absent to them during the past one hundred fifty years. As the years drug on, as townships fell and the Dutch death toll rose, the lack of foreseeable end wore on the public opinion. Though the Senaat, who was primarily in charge of declaring war, was never up for reelection, the House of Electorates were, and as the war drug on, they would receive the blame. They pressed for a negotiated end.
The Dutch Commonwealth of Nations
Negotiations began on-and-off in 1886. Dutch generals tried to lay terms for surrender on the Boers. The Boers, under the command of Erik van Delft, continued their stance that the Boers would not surrender. Negotiations went nowhere in 1886 and as 1887 started, King Frederick III stepped in. He ordered the army to cease operations and only fire in self defense. Frederick suggested that perhaps they should take the same approach with the Boers as they did the Brazilians; personal union.
The Boers agreed to the self-governing status but refused to have a king. For decades, their republics were ruled by assemblies and presidents, all of which were elected. The Boers did not like the idea of having somebody in power who could not be removed, a throwback to memories of VOC rule. It was van Delft that made his own proposal, via telegraph, to Frederick III. The Boers would be ‘self-governing republics within the commonwealth’. His five words changed the history of the Dutch empire.
When the idea of Commonwealth came before the Staaten-General, it met with resounding support. Though the American Revolution long since passed from living memory, the effect on the British did not. If the Boers continued their rebellion and succeeded in winning independence, it might prompt India, the Indonesian islands and Abyssinia from declaring independence. It was but a minor alteration to personal union plan. The Boer Republics would remain in commonwealth with the United Provinces and Brazil, though they would not have a monarch.
The idea further developed into a league of Dutch states, all equal in status, bound together by common language, currency and market. Each member state would send their own delegation to meet in Amsterdam at least once a year. By 1888, delegates from Brazil, the United Provinces and the Boer Republics met to draw up a charter for the commonwealth. The member states need not be in personal union with the United Provinces, but the Dutch monarch would be recognized as the head of the commonwealth. This the Boers could agree to. Since the Commonwealth Charter declared that the Commonwealth Assembly would decide a common foreign policy, the Boer Republics were technically protectorates of the Commonwealth. As was the case, their texts referred to the reigning monarch as either Lord of Lady Protector.
In effect, the Dutch Commonwealth was an imperial federation. After the Boer Republics achieved statehood, Kapenstaaten soon followed. It was the only state that did not fight against the Hague or Recife during the Boer Wars. After its admission into the Commonwealth, it was soon discussed that perhaps other colonies should be granted statehood. Ceylon, Java and Formosa were at the forefront of possibility, and would all achieve statehood within sixty years, along with several other, less outstanding colonies.16
With the potential to achieve autonomy, the colonies began to strive to improve their own infrastructure and governments. Like most political innovations of the Dutch during the Nineteenth Century, it stemmed from American ideals. Ironically, it was the United Provinces and their method of preserving Provincial powers that drove framers of the American Constitution to federation, along with the diverse nature of each of the original eleven states. The formation of the Dutch Commonwealth of Nations is the key factor for preserving Dutch unity to the present day, unlike disintegration enjoyed by British, French and German colonial empires.
Competition
In the 1820s, the first (literally the first) of the United Provinces experienced a complete collapse of its colonial empire. The Latin American nations of Mexico, Grand Colombia, Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay were under the heel of the Spanish Empire for three centuries. The atrocities committed in the Provinces during Spain’s rule there paled in comparison to Latin America. In the New World, conquistadores committed wholesale genocide against the indigenous population, destroying their cultures and pillaging two continents.
Napoleonic rule of Iberia weakened Spain to the point it could no longer hold on to its colonies. In 1810, Grand Colombia declared independence, with Mexico following the next year. Though Mexico’s first rebellion was crushed, Grand Colombia had the privilege of superior revolutionary commander. Simon Bolivar lead Grand Colombia to freedom, then pursued Spanish colonial rule into Peru, Chile and Bolivia, the latter named in his own honor.
The Dutch welcome independence of Spanish colonies. If not for destroying their long-time enemy, then for opening new markets stocked with millions of consumers, all willing to purchase Dutch goods. During Spanish rule, Spain forbade any foreigners from trading in its colonies, though it could never fully keep out determined Dutch smugglers. When Spain was driven from their former colonies, Dutch traders of all types rushed in to fill the vacuum. Them, along with their British and American counterparts effectively destroyed the Spanish export trade.
Revolution was not simply relegated to the colonial world. In 1848, a wave of revolutions broke out across Europe. The United Provinces had its share of unrest in the 1840s, but that paled in comparison to what happened across Germany, in France and Spain. Again the French monarchy was abolished and replaced with the Second Republic, which was in turn replaced by the Second Empire, and replaced again after the Franco-Prussian War17 with the Third Republic. Spain received its First Republic when the reigning King, Carlos IV, was deposed in autumn of 1848. Ironically, the Spanish King spent the rest of his life exiled in Flanders.
The toppling of the last Bourbon monarch sent ripples across France’s colonial possessions. Quebec in particular was hit hard. At first, the Québécois welcomed the deposing of the king. At last, they hoped they would be treated as one amongst equals as the revolutionaries were fighting for. When Quebec was not elevated to a Department of France, it was a let down. When the new republic treated it even more like a colony that the former king, that was the final straw. If Quebec would not be equal, then it shall be separate. In 1851, Quebec declared its independence. To the world’s surprise, France did little to stop it. At the time, France had its own internal conflicts to deal with. When Louis Napoleon declared himself Napoleon III, he granted Quebec’s independence in return for a free trade treaty with them. France would reap the economic benefits of a colony without having to control it, and should the new Republic of Quebec fail, then France would be their to ‘assist’.
In 1861, France had its eyes further south. In April, tens of thousands of French soldiers landed on the shores of Mexico, keen to collect on the debt Mexico had been either unwilling or, more likely, unable to pay. When the Mexicans surrendered, Napoleon III decided to replace its republic with a constitutional monarchy. As the Emperor, he chose an Austrian cousin, Maximilian. The Mexican Emperor was an inept leader, and faced the firing squad in 1867. In response, France invaded again, and this time it did not change the government, but abolished it completely. Mexico joined Algeria and Indochina as French colonies.
Even the British managed to climb back from the pit they entered after losing not only India, but the American colonies. During the 1820s, British nationals launched a land rush on the unclaimed lands south of Rio de la Plata, to which the Prussians did not protest. The land was cold and barren, and the British were welcome to Patagonia. It was a regret of later German Emperors when Patagonia wool began to take up much of Europe’s market.
To replace India, the British managed to wedge themselves in between the Dutch Raj and Siam. Their conquest of Burma was a relatively short affair, unlike their conquest of East Africa. Again the British managed to wedge themselves between two states, Dutch South Africa and Abyssinia. East Africa gave them not only a strategic presence both north and south of the Suez Canal, but helped stretch their influence across central Africa. Though Britain’s star was once again on the rise, it would always be second-rate compared to the United Provinces and its stars.
 
Berlin Conference
Following the Boer Wars, the United Provinces entered into a monumental agreement with other European powers. The sole purpose; to carve up Africa. In 1884, European empires sent delegates to Berlin. Germany, Britain, the United Provinces, Austro-Hungary, France and Spain divided the continent into their own private playgrounds. Germany and Austria were both new to the colonial game and were granted the smallest portions. The Dutch received nothing new, only insured the Boer Republics, Angola, Mozambique and Abyssinia stayed within their sphere of influence.
The British stretched their empire across southern and eastern Africa, following both the Congo and Nile rivers. They expanded their holdings in western Africa, taking up the southern half of West Africa. The northern half was annexed to Algeria and left under the direct rule of Paris. France also gained suzerainty over Madagascar. The Germans were sandwiched between British West Africa, Central Africa, and Egypt-Sudan. The Austrians gained a small section of western Africa, which upon its independence, would make up the states of Nigeria and Biafra. Spain’s big keep was Morocco. Along with Puerto Rico, the Marianas, Marshalls and Caroline Islands consisted of what remained of their once world-straddling Empire.
The Berlin Conference marked the last terrestrial burst of colonialism. After Africa was carved up, there was no land on Earth, save frozen Antarctica, that could be divided between European World Powers. With no more room to expand, conflict was inevitable. Two major wars would be fought by Europeans in Africa during the Twentieth Century. No matter the victors, it was the Africans who lost. Europe’s drawing of borders cut tribes in half and contained mortal enemies into the same colony. This marked the end of peace in Africa. Even after the next two world wars, Africa would be rocked by violence during decolonization and waves of nationalism in the newly independent nations.
King William VII
Two years after the Berlin Conference, Frederick III’s health began to decline. By 1888, his son, Willem Maurice van Oranje took up the role as regent. He ruled in the name of his father. Frederick’s body might be ailing him, but his mind was still sharp. He made certain his son did not take the throne until after he died. He resisted pressure from his own family and the Staaten-General to abdicate and allow his son to rule as King. All in good time was his response. Not until January of 1891 did Frederick finally relinquish the throne and his own life. Four days after his death, his son was crowned King William VII.
William VII was a strong believer in the principles of European expansion. He believed that it was his people’s natural right to rule over the less fortunate, to guide them, to lift them from the ‘squaller of ignorance’. Until his reign, Angola and Mozambique were largely left alone by Dutch interests. Limited logging went on across the two colonies, as did big game hunting. Some prospectors, veterans of gold and diamond finds in the Boer Republics, headed north to search for minerals. The jungles of Angola left its mineral rich regions inaccessible, and the technology to effectively drill off-shore had yet to be invented.
William convinced the Staaten-General to open up land in both the colonies for settling, the same as India and southern Africa. According to the Homesteader Act of 1824, Angola and Mozambique were already open for colonization. However, with more agreeable lands in reach, Netherlanders had little interest in Angola. Fisheries dotted the coast of Mozambique, but that was as far as colonization went, fishers. William went further to plead with the Dutch citizenry, with marginal success. In a strange twist of fate, some of the first colonies the United Provinces took were the last to be colonized.

The Kiat
April 4th, 2010, 01:06 PM
VIII) Alliances
(1900-1916)

Taking Sides
By 1901, the start of the Twentieth Century, European nations were steadily moving towards one camp or another. On one side, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Sweden and the Confederate States of America banded together by 1910 to form the Quintuple Entente. The Entente evolved out of a British-Confederate pact dating back to the mid-1860s, adding both Spain and France to their alliance after German tromped the French during the Franco-Prussian War. A strong Germany dominating Central Europe was seen as a threat to Britain. Sweden was convinced to sign on in 1910 when it found itself in direct competition with Germany over the Polish-Lithuanian throne.
Germany formed its own alliance to face off against the Anglo-French hordes on its western frontier. Austro-Hungary and Italy were allied with Germany, forming what would be called the Central Powers by 1900. The fourth member, the United States of America, reluctantly signed an alliance with Germany in 1905. Since the days of George Washington, the United States made it policy not to get entangled with European affairs. However, like Germany, the United States were in the center of the continent, trapped between foes. Since the Confederates made no qualms about signing alliances with America’s oldest nemesis, the United Kingdom, the Americans had little choice but to seek outside aid. This was all too clear after the disastrous Third Anglo-American War of 1882-85.
The United Provinces were allied with neither side. Instead, they formed the Dutch Commonwealth with their own allies. Nominally neutral, the Commonwealth would not hesitate to engage in warfare should their interests ever be threatened. As far as European wars were concerned, the Dutch long since learned of the profit of neutrality. They also learned what happened when they aligned themselves with a foreign power, as was the case with Britain during the Eighteenth Century.
The fourth component lay in the aging and ailing Ottoman Empire. They were non-aligned but far from neutral. Given tensions that occasionally rise in the Balkans or on the Black Sea, the Turks could quickly find themselves at war with either the Austrians or the Swedes, or both. The Entente and Central Powers both had the Turks in consideration should war between the two alliances erupt. Both sides will use every diplomatic tool in their arsenal to get the Turks to declare war on their opposite number.
Neutral nations factored little into international policy before the Great War. The Latin American nations were of no real consequence, nor was Siam. By 1910, China’s Manchu Dynasty came to an end, and China plunged into a warring states period. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s own stance of neutrality made for an excellent buffer zone between Sweden and Germany. The only real contender was that of Japan. By 1910, they had considerable colonial gains
in Korea along with Kamchatka. Though the far northeastern reaches of Asia were frozen on their best of days, they were rich in mineral wealth. The Japanese brought Korean laborers into the deadly environment by the tens of thousands, many of which never saw home again.
Arms Race
Germany and Britain played a dangerous game in the build up of arms during the first decade of the Twentieth Century. This build up is primarily what allowed the World Powers to wage war between 1913-16. Though it was not the casus belli, it did allow many nations to expend the surplus of ammunition stockpiled during the decade. The German High Seas Fleet spent twenty years trying to elevate itself to the level of the Royal (British) Navy with little success.
In 1905, the British severely upset the balance of naval power by deploying the HMS Dreadnaught. It was a battleship unlike any before, an all big-gun warship. Its three hundred millimeter guns could easily blast lesser warships out of the water. The launching of the Dreadnaught Class battleships did more than drive the Germans into a production frenzy. This new type of warship was of great concern to the Dutch Commonwealth.
By 1907, the Brazilians built their own ‘dreadnaught’, the HMBS Emperor of Brazil. Its main turrets sported three hundred fifty millimeter guns, and was the first of many Brazilian and Netherlanders dreadnaught to be built by the start of the Great War. The Commonwealth expended a great deal of capital in building newer, more powerful ships.
The Americans added a new dimension to the arms race in 1903, with the advent of the first functional flying machine. Though the United States Army saw the airplane as little more than a novelty, both Germany and the Britain saw its potential for intelligence gathering. The Dutch took longer catching on. It was not until 1907 that the Fokker Aeronautical Company was established, and in that same year they only produced six airplanes. Hardly enough to cover a globe spanning commonwealth.
By 1913, the year the Great War erupted, both Germany and Britain supported an impressive military infrastructure. Both were equally matched in aircraft, however the High Seas Fleet only operated half as many vessels as the Royal (British) Navy. Furthermore, the British could call upon their own self-governing colonies, their own ‘commonwealth’. Though pale in comparison with the Dutch, the British could rely upon the Australians, Canadians, Filipinos and the Patagonians. Germans had fewer colonies, and those were mostly inhabited by natives. They invested most of their colonial efforts in Rio del la Plata, north of Patagonia; and Kaiserwilhemland, north of Australia.
The rest of Europe did not sit back idly as the two giants armed themselves. France kept up a steady pace, though always behind the both. The one disadvantage to its republican government was that France was always at the mercy of its people. Austro-Hungary too build up its forces, but its army was segregated between the various ethnic and national groups within its borders. As we will later seen, a less-than-fully integrated army was not a good army. Sweden used a similar practice, though only concerning its more elite forces, the Cossacks for example.
The Italian Federation spent more of an effort on its navy and its own air force. Its own expansion into Libya, coupled with the fact the nation was a series of islands and a peninsula made the maritime forces more valuable. Italy’s northern frontier sported one of the most formidable defensive barriers in the world; the Alps. Spain was forced to deplete its own resources in a navy to rival the Italians. Long gone were Spanish days of glory, the last of their American colonies liberated and their Pacific possessions lost in the wake of the Spanish-American War.
Across the Atlantic, it was the United States who built a military to be reckoned with. With enemies to the north, south and on the Pacific, the Americans poured their vast economic might into a two-ocean navy along with an army that could take on both British and Confederates simultaneously. Though humiliated during the Third Anglo-American War, the Americans built themselves back up, allying with Germany and adopting much of its Prussian institutions. The army was not the only one to benefit from foreign ideas. For decades, the Americans had hired Dutch captains and admirals to teach at the Naval Academy in Baltimore. Importing the discipline of the mightiest army in Europe, and the mightiest navy in the world, the Americans regained their confidence, especially in the wake of the triumphed victory over Spain.
The Confederate States strained themselves to keep up with the Americans, though they could never afford an army or navy as mighty. They were forced to rely upon British intervention and support. They long since adopted British tactics and discipline, and this aided them against the Americans during the Third Anglo-American War. The real advantage of the Confederates lay in the fact that they would almost certainly be fighting a defensive war. Extensive fortifications combined with knowledge of the terrain made attacking the Confederate States a challenge.
With the armies and navies built, and contenders itching for a fight, all that was needed was a spark to ignite the tension and plunge the world into a war unlike any before; a war to end all wars.
Canals
By 1913, the world saw two more canals, these linking Atlantic and Pacific. The northern one was built by the French in the colonial Mexican department of Nicaragua. Though not the shortest possible route from the Carribean to the Pacific, Lake Nicaragua offered a convenient gap to allow for shipping. All that was require was a bit of dredging and some locks to connect the lake with both oceans. In 1879, the French began construction of the Nicaragua Canal.
Though completed first, its construction took far longer than the Panama Canal. The French spent twenty-six years working on their colossal project. IN truth, the French simply supervised, planned and designed the canal. Tens of thousand of their colonial ‘citizens’ toiled in the jungles of Central America, upwards to thirty percent dying during the time of construction. By annexing Mexico, France’s canal opened several years before the American’s project. Since the Confederates were allied with France through Britain, the French monopoly on canals was viewed as a threat to American national security.
In 1899, a year after the tremendous victory over Spain, and six years before the Nicaragua Canal opened, the United States pressured Grand Colombia to sell the province of Panama to the Americans. The province was quickly annexed to the state of Costa Rica1. The Isthmus of Darien offered the shortest distance between the Carribean and the Pacific. It was the ideal choice for a multi-lock canal, but the Americans could not afford the project alone. They spent until 1903, searching for fiscal support.
Their strongest ally, Germany leant them support, however their arms race with Britain consumed too much of the budget. Though Germany would assist in the defense of the Panama Canal, they could ill afford to help pay for it. The Dutch, on the other hand, were friends but not allies, and were interested in a short cut to the Pacific. Though the Commonwealth had no holdings in the eastern Pacific, various Dutch interests saw they could profit from the amount of traffic that would flow through the canal. It also gave Dutch ships an alternative to paying the French or taking the long way around.
The two canals in Central America were vital to the war efforts of both alliances, though neither side attacked their opposite’s waterway. The Panama Canal was protected merely by the Dutch interest. Interfering with Commonwealth shipping was the surest way to get the Dutch Commonwealth into the Great War, and the Dutch long since learned there was little profit in war. During the Great War, each of the world’s greatest canals were given a wide berth by all the belligerents.
Emperor of India, King of Ceylon
By 1911, Ceylon were ready to take its place a nation among equals. Its economy flourished over the past fifty years, though industrialization was minimal. The Ceylonese established its own Staaten-General, which held its initial session on September 3, 1907. Though it formed its own government and written its own constitution, the Ceylonese Staaten-General entered a debate whether or not to petition for admittance. For the Commonwealth’s part, the Commonwealth Assembly had to accept the petition. The Boer Republics were concerned that Ceylonese admittance might disrupt the balance of power between the Republicans of South Africa and the Monarchists of Brazil and the United Provinces.2
A minority of politicians on Ceylon wanted to establish a republic, but the majority were in favor of personal union with the mother country. In 1910, an island-wide referendum voted overwhelmingly for the creation of a monarchy, and the Staaten-General made quick to ratify the vote and elect Frederick III to be Frederick I, King of Ceylon. In January of 1911, Ceylon was granted the status of a realm within the commonwealth.
Given its location, Ceylon was the natural overseer of India, which the Indians were keenly aware of. Since the establishment of the Dutch Commonwealth, the land owners and vassals sent India into a crash course of modernization. The elite of India would do anything to not become a colony of the upstart Ceylonese, even if it meant reforming the system that gave them power. IN 1894, princes and governors of the Indian provinces met in Delhi, a city conquered only thirty years prior, to form a provisional self-government for the colony.
Up until the Delhi Conference, India was ruled directly from the Hague, and the Staaten-General appointed governor-generals over the provinces not under the rule of allies. Even the allies obeyed the commands of the Staaten-General, else they would lose all power they still retained. By 1894, though India was still sunk in poverty, the elite were determined to gain statehood for India. The issue of whether or not India would be a single nation was not much of one. Apart, the provinces and principalities were weak, and easily picked off (which was how the Dutch managed to conquer the sub-continent in the first place), but united they could stand up to any power, even their colonial master, the United Provinces of the Netherlands.
Before the dawn of the Twentieth Century, the Indians managed to slap together a coalition government, which representatives from each of the princely states and provinces. The initial Indian Staaten-General was the first unicameral parliament in the Dutch world. This did not sit well with the Hague. The Netherlander Staaten-General was determined that each parliament within the Commonwealth should be made in its own image. Though there was some opposition in the House of Electorates, India clearly fell under a matter of state and not the people. The Senaat, seeing the determination exported from India, decided to ‘aid’ their counterparts in India.
In 1905, the Staaten-General wrote a constitution for India, not to debate or discuss, but to simply accept. For the most part, it differed little from the Brazilian Constitution, including installing Frederick as the Emperor of India. The decision of republic or monarchy was stripped from India, which had not officially been granted self-determination in the first place. It is fortunate for the Dutch Commonwealth that India’s elite took the task of forming a state upon themselves. If India had remained a colony like the Indonesian islands of Formosa during the Second World War, it is entirely possible it would have followed them on the path to republic, or perhaps severed all ties from the Netherlands with the act of declaring independence.
Establishing democracy in a country that was still largely illiterate proved a daunting challenge. For decades, Commonwealth authorities struggled against election fraud throughout the provinces, or states as India soon called its own divisions. The Indian House of Electorates, between 1911 to 1941, was largely populated with Electorates that cheated their way into power. Unable to read, the voters had only the word of attendants to take for whose name they checked. Furthermore, those same Electorates blocked attempts at universal education; a literate voter might not vote for them.
Such liberties and irresponsibility made many in the Commonwealth Assembly skeptical as to whether or not India was ready for admittance. Delegates from Brazil, and of course Ceylon, argued that the more mature colonies, Java and Formosa, should be admitted before India. In April of 1911, the Assembly deadlocked on the vote, leaving the decision in the hands of the head of the Commonwealth and the tie-breaker; Frederick III.
Frederick was more than ready to have another jewel in his crown. He placed his one vote in favor of India, and on May 1, 1911, India achieved the status of realm within the commonwealth. To the average India, little changed. They were still poor, dispossessed and had little in the way of say in their lives. They would not see the fruits of statehood for decades to come. To them, the illusion of having a say in their government did not outweigh the near famine conditions across the countryside. Land was still owned by a minority who were more interested in cash crops than growing food.
Sadly, these same land owners were the largest block of India’s House of Electorates. Land reform bills were also blocked, as the minority, the legitimately elected Electorates struggled for the betterment of their country against the rural aristocracy. It took a war with Japan, when the peasantry rose up for promises of liberation by the Japanese to force the Indian Staaten-General to change. Most of this change was a combination of improved education, and a wave of assassination of landing owning elite by the poorly paid laborers under their employment. Had reforms not occurred, it is entirely likely that when the People’s Dynasty took power in China, that the masses in India would have transformed India into the Commonwealth’s only communist member.
War Clouds
In 1913, King Gunther II of the Litho-Polish Commonwealth died. Unlike other monarchies, the Lithuanians and Poles elected a king after the previous one died or retired. The Kings were either domestic, or came from German or Swedish states, with the occasional candidate from Austria. In early 1913, there was a debate within Litho-Poland as to who should take the throne. The choice was narrowed down to two candidates, one Swedish and one German.
The German choice happened to be the cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm II, while the Swede was the brother of King Charles XVII. With each election, the two choices were tied, and with no end in sight, the Kaiser decided to act. Since the previous king was a German3, the German Empire felt it was entitled to have one of its own ruling over the nation to the east. Furthermore, Litho-Poland always offered the perfect buffer between the two Empires. The succession crisis caused much alarm across Europe, and France, Britain and Italy called up partial mobilizations of their military base. France in particular feared German ambitions, as it was humbled by Prussia fifty years prior.
Their fears and concerns were well justified. On June 22, 1913, several German divisions crossed the frontier, and the Kaiser made his intentions public; Germany would break the deadlock and install a German on the Litho-Polish throne. Both Britain and France gave Germany an ultimatum, withdraw or there will be war. Sweden did not bother with warnings. On June 23, the Swedish Empire declared war on Germany. Days later, as alliances were activated, virtually all of Europe and North America were plunged into war.
Though Frederick III personally condemned the Kaiser’s violation of Litho-Polish self-determination, the Staaten-General of the United Provinces made no public declaration aside from absolute neutrality. Historical memories of the devastation to the Provinces during the Napoleonic Era stood united with public opinion; no war for the Dutch. Various Dutch arms manufactures and dealers were pleased by neutrality, which meant they could sell to both sides, and they did.
Brazilian ordinance factories went into overtime trying to keep up with demand of both British and German colonists in South America. Not only did shells and bullets cross the border, but so did volunteers. Brazil was home to several mercenary companies, and legions of youth eager for adventure. In both cases, war fulfilled their desires. Though as part of the Commonwealth, Brazil was neutral, it would do nothing to stop its citizens from joined the German, or less often, the British armies. The government would do nothing, but the people were free to make their own foolish decisions. In the words of Electorate Maarten Helm (1st District, Cayenne), ‘if somebody wants to go off and join the (German) army, than that’s their business’.
Despite Dutch individuals entering the war, the warring powers gave the Dutch Commonwealth a wide berth. As the preeminent military power on the planet, nobody dared to antagonize the Dutch and risk driving them into their enemies’ camp. Even when the Germans declared unrestricted submarine warfare against the British Isles, U-boat captains went out of their way to avoid firing on any ship flying orange-white-blue. However, once the British merchantmen figured this out, they simply re-registered their own ships under the banner of the United Provinces.
The city of Luxembourg saw its own share of action, though not in the belligerent way. Being so close to the front, the city was often overflown by squadrons from Germany and their British rivals. The French steered clear of Dutch territory and pressured Britain to do the same. The British, however, saw that if Germany was going to overfly Luxembourg, then they had the right to intercept them over the Duchy. Intercept them they did, but not in the air.
The dawn of air combat was filled with chivalry and honor, not too different from the Knights of medieval Europe (though pilots did not butcher the peasantry indiscriminately). Discipline was tight around the combatant’s own aerodromes, and lacked in the way of entertainment. Beer was plentiful, but tightly rationed do to the war effort. Dutch breweries had no such limitations. In fact, their business was thriving in the wake of Germany exports drying to a trickle.
Often after patrols, both German and British pilots would land at the airport at Luxembourg in search of unauthorized rest and relaxation. There was one pub at Luxembourg Airport in 1913, but by 1914, dozens of pubs, bars, casinos and even the odd brothel materialized around the airport, and several airstrips cleared around the city. For the citizens of the city, the war was actually good for business. At first, the Luxembourger officials turned a blind eye to the occasional landings, but as word about Luxembourg spread, the locals soon faced the prospect of both Germans and British ending up at the same pub.
The city police force was tripled around the airfields, but to little avail. While in neutral territory, the two opposing forces had little interest in fighting, and more so in fraternizing. They traded stories about combats, about home life, and even the odd bottle of booze from each respective nation. British scotch was highly prized by the Germans. There was plenty of card playing to be had, and again the officials made absolute certain no cheats were permitted access to casinos. With a de facto truce in effect, the last thing anyone wanted was for bad blood to be spilt.
When the stories were told and the songs sang, the pilots would bid farewell, wishing the other luck in a may-the-better-man-win spirit. A few pilots would even seek out worthy opponents to challenge in the skies over the trenches. The Luxembourgers strained their resources to prevent the war from coming home, but lack of identification made prevention of landing difficult. Many aces visited Luxembourg, with even one report in September of 1914 that the legendary Red Baron landing his bright red tri-plane at Luxembourg Airport. Needless to say, no British pilot dared to challenge him to an airborne duel.
Hermann Overkirk
Though neutral, the Dutch public was still interested in how the war progressed. Newspapers across the Provinces, and the whole of the Commonwealth related the exploits of armies, generals and even the common soldier. For the Dutch media, gaining access to the front was difficult. The French wanted no part of the idea, and there was little love-loss between Britain and the Netherlands. Even Germany was wary of reporters, fearing they were either spies or would accidently pass along valuable information to spies. The only nation that openly welcomed Dutch reporters was the United States.
In fact, the United States, after a century of humiliation, was more than eager to show the world its power. Reporters imbedded at the front, or near it, gave the war in North America excellent documentation, as was the case with Brazilian reporter Hermann Overkirk. Overkirk managed to get himself attached to the 1st Army along the Ohio Front, and to the offices of its commanding officer, John ‘Black Jack’ Pershing.4 His reports gave readers across the Commonwealth a detailed account of the horrors of modern warfare.
Throughout 1913, a static line developed within the Confederate State of Kentucky. It was not until 1914, at the Battle of the Tennessee River that the initial dead lock was broken. Over a year leading to the battle, Overkirk wrote and wired his stories of despair back home. One side would shell the other side all week, in vein hope of smashing a hole in the line. When the dust cleared, and the attackers ‘went over the top’, the defenders would crawl out of their well fortified subterranean homes, take up machine guns, and mow down the attackers. When the attackers retreated, the defenders attacked, only to get cut down by the attacker’s machine guns once they were safely back in their trenches. Tens of thousand of lives were thrown away in these futile charges, that seldom managed to take the first line of trenches.
At Tennessee River, the first use of chlorine was documented in the American Theater. American soldiers rolled out canisters of the lethal gas and opened them as the wind blew towards the enemy. This being the first use of modern chemical warfare, the Confederates had no defense against the low laying gas. Once the gas dissipated, American soldiers were already jumping into Confederate trenches, finishing off the still withering forms of their enemy. It was hardly the charge for glory the French were so obsessed over during the Eighteenth Century. Instead, warfare became an efficient tool in the industrialized world.
In 1915, before the Commonwealth was drug into the conflict, Overkirk wrote the most preposterous story to ever see publication. He stood within view of the front, invited by Pershing, who wanted the world to witness this great breakout. What he saw, nobody believed at first. He saw large, noisy, armored beasts crawling across no-man’s land. ‘Armored cavalry’ they were called. This was an allusion to the desire to open a gap in the lines for more traditional cavalry to route the enemy as they had in previous wars. Horses stood little chance against machine guns, as was most devastatingly learned by the Cossacks in the Eastern Theater. The Americans gained several kilometers of front before the Armored Cavalry all suffered mechanical breakdowns.5
The Van Der Weld Incident
Despite re-registry, the nations at war continued unrestricted submarine warfare, this time targeting any ships entering their foe’s waters. The Staaten-Generals of all the Dutch states, along with the Commonwealth Assembly told Dutch companies and merchants that they would enter combatant’s territorial waters at their own risk. Once it was clear the Royal (Dutch) Navies would not protect any other nation’s trade, the fear of reprisal diminished and Dutch freighters were soon sank along with the rest of shipping.
However, the Commonwealth made it perfectly clear that it would not tolerate attacks on its nationals while in Commonwealth or international waters. Within British, American or German water were one thing, but the Dutch considered international water vital to their trade and commerce. As many nations have learned throughout history, the quickest way to get the Dutch involved was to threaten their commercial empire. However, the Dutch Commonwealth claimed a territorial water limit of twenty kilometers, while most international treaties limited it to sixteen point one kilometers (ten miles). In this case, territorial claims often overlapped, such as with the United Provinces and Germany, Brazil and British Guyana, and so on.
It was also in these disputed zones, while the war was in its third year of stalemate, that one of the greatest controversies of the Twentieth Century occurred. In the waters between Germany and the United Provinces, at a point where coasts angled and the Dutch expanded their claims into German waters, did the Dutch finally get drawn into the conflict. The Kapenstaaten freighter Van Der Weld sailed, destined to Bremen, and behind it a submarine tracked. As soon as the Van Der Weld entered what the international community considered German waters, the submarine sped into an attack run.
From all account, the Van Der Weld was struck in the forward hold. Since the ship was carrying ammonium nitrate to sell to the Germans, the ships erupted into a monestrous fireball, killing all on board, and through pieces of the hull some twenty-five kilometers distance. The explosion was so powerful, that the HMS Grendal, a United Province destroyer not only spotted it, but felt the concussion. At once, the captain of the Grendal, Simon van der Hague, ordered his ship to pursue the submarine in Dutch waters. With primitive radio equipment, the Grendal sent word to near-by Dutch ships to coordinate in a sub round up.
In the afternoon of July 3, 1915, a squadron of two Dutch destroyers and three frigates, force the Swedish submarine Narwhal to beach itself on a German beach opposite the bay from the Province of Ommelanden. The Dutch captured the submarine and detained its crew. When word reached the Hague, the Staaten-General went into a frenzy, an emergency session of the Commonwealth Assembly was called, and Frederick III stormed the Swedish embassy demanding to speak with the ambassador. When the ambassador refused to see him, the King had the embassy closed, Swedish nationals expelled from the country, minus the ambassador, who would speak with the King.
The meeting lasted for a few minutes, for with each protest from the Swede, the King’s anger grew. When the ambassador finally acknowledged Swedish submarines operated in that area of German waters, Frederick rebutted by saying it was Dutch water, and by sinking a Boer freighter in Dutch waters, Sweden had doomed itself to a war it could not win. With those last words, the ambassador from Sweden was unceremoniously expelled from the United Provinces.
Since international affairs are decided by the Commonwealth as a whole, the Netherlander Staaten-General was understandably frustrated. The best it could do, was for the hereditary members of the Senaat to call up the militias of their respective Provinces. The VOC, was not tied to any state formalities, and its fleet was put on alert, though it took some time. It was not until all ships made port could they learn that the Dutch Commonwealth was now at war. Even during unrestricted attacks, the belligerents avoided attacking any ship that waved the orang-white-blue with big bold black VOC labeled across them. Only property of the VOC could wave that flag, and nobody could register under them. Even if they could, it was not likely that the VOC would give the ships back.
On July 17, 1915, as soon as he representatives could either be round up, or in the case of Brazil, sail in, the Commonwealth Assembly made the monumental decision. For once, there was little debate and no rivalries. What happened in the United Provinces could happen everywhere else if the Swedish menace was not confronted. In one of their few unanimous votes, the Commonwealth declared war upon Sweden.
The Dutch Commonwealth at War
Shortly after, Sweden did as predicted, and demanded their allies declare war upon the Dutch. France, Spain and the Confederates declared war only two days after the Commonwealth. The British were slower, for they had to debate. Britain relied upon imports of food stuffs to feed its population, unlike its allies. With the Dutch at war, not only was Britain in real danger of strangulation, but there was always the possibility of invasion. The Americans and Germans could never pull off such a feat, but the Dutch proved they could land troops on British soil, even if only for a raid. The British relented to foreign pressures and joined their allies in declaration of war, at the same time recalling much of its navy from the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
With France’s declaration of war, the Dutch enacted a modified version of War Plan Violet.6. Instead of invading France itself, for the United Provinces had not nearly enough soldiers to do so, they instead allowed over two hundred thousand armed Germans to march through the Ardennes and outflank the Entente’s trench network. What resulted was the largest retreat in the Western Theater of the Great War, even larger than the evacuation of Gallipoli. The Germans gains nearly fifty kilometers of land, and drove French and British soldiers completely out of Alsace-Lorraine.
The Dutch kept a mostly defensive stance against the French. Instead, the bulk of their forces massed in Norway, and launched an invasion of the Swedish homeland. Along with soldiers from the United Provinces, colonial brigades from Iceland and a division of the Royal (Indian) Army participated with the invasion of Sweden. Germany tried in 1913 to invade the Swedish mainland from staging areas around Kopenhagen, with little success, though it did prevent the Swedes from launching a seaborne invasion of Pomerania.
With the Commonwealth fully blockading all Swedish access in and out of the Baltic, the Dutch invasion gained far more ground than the Germans. The invasion followed the rail from Trondheim to Stockholm, and managed to draw off any Swedish reserves along the Eastern Front. Even with that, the Germans failed to achieve a breakout in 1915. Had the Dutch Commonwealth been united militarily as it was with international affairs, the Dutch might very well have knocked Sweden out of the war within a month.
Instead, other Commonwealth members fought their own wars on their own fronts. The Brazilians supported German gains in Rio del la Plata, fighting the ground war exclusively in South America. The Royal (Brazilian) Navy was another matter. It battled both British and French in the Carribean, and even cut off Britain from its Patagonian beef supply. The introduction of Commonwealth navies into the war shifted the balance drastically. Once the Dutch drove British warships from the North Sea, the German High Seas Fleet was then free to enter the Atlantic. Even together, they were unable to close off Britain completely from the outside world. The Royal (British) Navy controlled the English Channel throughout the war.
However, Brazilian activities in the South Atlantic, and the Dutch in Abyssinia closing the Suez, drew British and French ships away from their relatively weaker ally, the Confederate States. Left alone to face the United States, the Americans easily blocked the Confederate coast. As was predicted by all parties involved, the Dutch navy altered the balance in favor of its temporary allies. However, the Dutch Army was another matter. European powers thought little of the United Provinces’ army before the war began. Surely it could defend its home from invasion, but the Dutch have no fought a ‘real’ foe in a century,7 how could they be expected to meet the standards of France, Britain and Germany?
Not only did they meet those standards, but in the case of France, they surpassed them. Dutch involvement along the Western Front was minimal, but the four divisions that followed the German flanking attack rolled over French fortifications with little difficulty. As one could easily assume, the first target of the Dutch invasion was the city of Mons. The Dutch long since abandoned any claim to the city, and after a century under French rule, the city was thoroughly French. However, there was a certain matter of pride on the part of the Staaten-General that the city should fall.
In August of 1915, the Dutch army under the command of Field Marshall Albert van Meinrad, encircled and laid siege to the city. The French had only a minimal garrison in the town, the majority of soldiers along the Dutch border were already diverted to the Western Front. Failure to foresee Dutch intervention nearly cost the French the way in the summer of 1915. The Fall of Mons after a three week siege was but one of the many downturns in French fortunes during the year. Far worse was the loss of Verdun during the spring, and the months spent throwing soldiers against the Maas River to retake it. The only reason France stayed in the war was because both Britain and Spain backed her up.
On a more personal note in respects to the House of Oranje, one of the junior officers under van Meinrad’s command just happened to be the Grand Prince of Norway. After Frederick III’s brother died, his son, the King’s nephew, inherited the title of Grand Prince and was now in line for succession. As with Dutch tradition, only the males of the core branch of the House of Oranje ascended the throne. Frederick Henry van Oranje lead a company of men during the Siege of Mons. Tragically, during the storming of Mons, Frederick Henry took a bullet to the chest, puncturing a lung. For two weeks it was uncertain whether he would survive or not. The bullet was removed, but Frederick III, along with all of the United Provinces were kept in the grip of suspense before Frederick Henry made his partial recovery.8
Frederick Henry’s younger brother, Mandrick van Oranje was not so lucky. He served in the Royal (Dutch ) Navy, as a lieutenant aboard the battlecruiser Half-Moon. On patrol in the North Sea, the Half-Moon entered into combat against two British ships, the Resolution and Excelsior, a battleship and heavy cruiser respectively. The Excelsior received heavy damage and was force to retreat from battle. Resolution lost the function of its forward turret, but not soon enough to prevent armor piercing rounds from its other guns from penetrating Half-Moon’s magazine, and destroying the ship with one thunderous explosion. All but three on board the Dutch ship were killed, and those three spent the rest of the war in a POW camp.
End Game
By 1916, all the combatants, save the Commonwealth, were worn down from over three years of fighting. The end of the war came not from a decisive victory or total defeat by foreign foes, but its started from within. In February of 1916, the Austrians occupied the Turkish city of Belgrade. For centuries, the Serbs were either subjugated by Austrian or Turkish masters. Like all the nationalities in the Balkans, except the masters, the Serbs were tired of living under heals. They were tired of servitude, of taxation, of conscription, and most of all, of poverty.
Karl Marx long since predicted an uprising of the proletarians against the bosses, the industrial giants that ground them down during the Industrial Revolution. Though the Balkans were just starting to industrialize during the 1910s, Marx’s predication could not have been further off. The first people’s uprising came not in the industrialized West, but in the colonial Balkans. To the Serbs, and all others, that was exactly how they felt; as either colonies of Vienna or Constantinople.
For two decades, an underground of intellectuals and nationalists thrived throughout the Balkans, striving for homelands of their own. Their diminutive size failed to make them safe. Each time one of these ‘Marxists’ spoke out, the appropriate authorities cracked down. In Belgrade, February of 1916, what would soon be called the Serbian People’s Party saw that Austro-Hungary was weakening. They could also see that the Turks were as well, for them made no attempt to retake the city since 1914. With both giants of the Balkans exhausted, the Marxists organized the masses and instigated a general uprising against the Austrians.
Within three days, the Austrians crushed the uprising utterly. However, their squelching of the Belgrade Uprising can be compared to stomping out a fire. If one is not careful, one might just kick embers everywhere. That is what happened in Belgrade. Many Marxists fled either to Sarejavo, or across the front lines into Bucharest and Sofia. Upon arriving in these cities, the Marxists agitated local Nationalistic and Marxists underground movements. By March, more successful uprisings shatter control over these three provincial capitals. On March 21, Bulgarians and Rumanians declared their independence from the Ottoman Empire. Bosnia broke away from Austro-Hungary the next day.
The uprisings were all part of a widespread, organized revolution, extending even into the armies of Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. Ethnic divisions and regiments deserted their respective armies, and in some cases turned against their former masters. The Balkan Revolution spread across the entire Balkan peninsula in two months. By June, the Austro-Hungarian Empire disintegrated, collapsing under over a century of pent up ethnic and nationalistic rage. In response to its fragmentation, the Kaiser was forced to divert several divisions from the Western Front to secure German Austria, and prevent the Revolution from spreading into Germany.
The Ottoman Empire lasted only six weeks longer than the Austrians. While the Balkan provinces rose up against the Turks, so did Armenians, Kurds and Arabs in the eastern extend of the Empire. The Turks fared worse, for their capital, Constantinople fell to a joint Greco-Bulgarian invasion. The Turks attempted to land and retake the city, but the newly established Greek People’s Republic rebuffed the landing.
The Revolution did not stop with the Balkans. Smaller cells were located within the Litho-Polish Commonwealth and the Swedish Empire. To a lesser extend, a revolutionary fever swept through Munich, causing the Kaiser to send negotiators to Stockholm. With the Revolution brewing within both combatant’s borders, the German and Swedish Empires signed a cease-fire, effective August 2, 1916.
In the West, this act was seen as betrayal of allies, and an opportunity for the Western Entente to drive into Germany before German reinforcements arrived along the front. The timing of the decision forced the French to abandon their troop rotation. Up until then, French soldiers spent one week on the line, and were rotated to the rear for a week. In effect, France had two Grande Armies. These shifts were morale boosters and kept their soldiers in fighting shape, but the shortage prevented France from breaking through. Starting in August, the troop rotations stopped, and after a week ‘on the line’ soldiers who would have been due for rotation were still in the trenches.
When a large offensive was in the makings, the French might delay rotations, but they never cancelled them. Dissent grew in the ranks, and when the order to ‘go over the top’ finally arrived, the French soldiers refused to go. The French Mutiny effectively spelt the end of the Great War on the Western Front. Germany seized on the opportunity and sued France for a truce. With their soldiers up in arms against their own Generals, France had little choice to accept this or face a possible German breakthrough and advance on Paris, and France would loose the war. The politicians knew they would loose some territory, but not as much as they would should Paris fall.
On August 29, the cease fire between France and Germany went into effect, and the French ordered British and Spanish expeditions to leave their territory. By now, France knew about the wave of Red Revolution and decided to crack down on any left-wing movement in the area. Italy also entered a unilateral cease-fire with France. Instead, they diverted soldiers to occupy the Slovenian Socialist Republic. With Europe out of the fighting, former Confederate President Woodrow Wilson sent delegates to all warring parties with peace proposals. All were accepted within days of receiving, except the Americans. The Bull Moose himself, Theodore Roosevelt held out for three weeks, to see if Pershing could take Montgomery. He did not, and the ailing President, on the last year of his last term, decided to end the war before he left office.
Versailles
In October of 1916, Entente and Central Powers, along with the Dutch Commonwealth met at the Palace of Versailles, south of Paris. The successor states of the Ottoman Empire were invited, but only Armenia, Kurdistan, Turkey and the Arab Republic accepted. The Balkan states were still struggling for power, nor had they been recognized by the capitalistic nations of the world. After three years of war, Europe and North America were ready for peace on nearly any terms.
For Europe, the terms were simple. Virtual status quo ante bellum. With the exception of shifts in the Franco-German border, no land between surviving combatants changed hands. Even the United Provinces forewent annexing Mons. Nations retained their colonies with original border integrity, minus some portions of Canada. For the most part, the Great War was fought to a stand still, with few gains and fewer winners.
The only real winner to emerge from the war was the United States. After a century of humiliation in the face of the British, the American finally defeated them. By the end of the war, the front lines in Canada were on the verge of collapse.9 At Versailles, they demanded concessions from the British, to which the surviving Central Powers seconded, as did the Dutch Commonwealth. The British realized they could not afford to fight the Americans every other generation, and decided to push for a permanent peace treaty. In return for peace, the United States got back northern Maine, the Red River valley, and the lands between the Forty-ninth parallel and Columbia River. Further, the northwestern border was extended along the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains up to the fifty-four forty boundary, the original northern extent of the Oregon Country. Britain and Canada ceded these lands, along with the Bahamas and for the first time in history, an Anglo-American peace treaty was signed at Versailles, and ratified in Congress just days before Roosevelt retired.10
The Confederates were the only clear losers of the war. If not for Roosevelt’s ailing health and planned retirement, he would have pressed the war until the Confederate States of America were destroyed. In his diaries, published in the 1980s, Roosevelt repeated confessed his desires to restore the union. In the end, the Americans restored the legitimate governments of Cuba, Kentucky and Durango, along with acquiring land from Arizona and Virginia, turned into Jefferson and Lincoln territories respectively. The Confederates were bankrupt and broken at war’s end, but that did not stop Wilson from pushing for world peace.
His proposal included establishing the League of Nations, an institution were nations can solve their disputes in civilized manners. The League had little power to enforce the resolutions it passed, and that was the reason for its eventual failure. Ironically, it was the Confederate Senate that rejected joining the League. Every other power joined, however the Dutch Commonwealth opted out, preferring its own international organization over the League, though they would be willing to work with the international community.
To resolve the question of Polish Succession, which started the Great War, the Poles and Lithuanians decided to abolish their own monarchy. At the start of 1918, the Republic of Poland-Lithuania was born. Kurdistan, Armenia and the Arab Republic were all recognized an admitted into the League. Turkey refused to join for several years due to this recognition. As for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Empire was permitted to annex German Austria. As for the other provinces, now plunged in civil wars of their own,11 the League attempted to organize a peace-keeping force, but no nations would contribute soldiers, save Turkey, who wanted to regain control over the Balkans.
With the Great War ending, the Dutch Commonwealth entered a sort of Golden Era. Between the world wars, Dutch wealth was unmatched, and with nations ruined by the Great War, they supplied much of the industry and capital needed to rebuild. Companies like the VOC reached new heights, and what started as a puny collection of quarreling provinces along the North Sea reached the status of the world’s first Superpower.

The Kiat
April 4th, 2010, 01:08 PM
IX) Commonwealth
(1917-1946)
Reform
During the Great War, the lack of cohesion in Commonwealth Armed Forces greatly distress King Frederick III. How was the Commonwealth suppose to survive a serious threat if each nation had its own army, navy and now air force, along with independent chains of command. In 1918, Frederick launched his own campaign to fully integrate the Commonwealth’s military. The various Staaten-Generals around the Commonwealth resisted the idea, arguing their militaries were internal affairs. However, the King argued that since the Commonwealth had a united and common foreign policy, including declaring war, then it should have a common and united military.
The King had his allies across the Commonwealth. The King always has allies. No matter the state, whether it be Brazil, Transvaal, India or even the United Provinces, there were always those Electorates and Senators that looked toward their common monarch (though minus the monarch part in the Boer Republics) for leadership. Though political parties were illegal in some states, that did not stop ‘monarchist’ organizations from forming.
More nationalistic elements opposed these so-called Monarchists. They claimed that by integrating the Commonwealth’s armed forces, they would be stripping the member states of their sovereignty. First the military, then taxes and domestic laws. Where would the Commonwealth Assembly stop? Until all the members were reduced to colonies of the Hague? The King had no desire to strip his kingdoms and empires of their status as realms. Brazil and Ceylon would keep their own academies, and all the states would have their militias, but the Commonwealth as a whole could not afford to have its armies divided along national lines.
The United Provinces were in favor of it, if for no other reason than it gave them a vast number of recruits to use in defense of the Provinces. That alone made the proposal suspect. Brazilians had little desire to be stations in the Provinces, and the Indians certainly did not wish to defend their former overlords. Strangely enough, all the Boer Republics were in favor of integration. The Boers might have been a powerful voting block, if they could ever agree on anything. During the Great War, Kapenstaaten refused to send soldiers to aid Johannestaaten in beating back British raids. If all the states were to pool their military manpower, then perhaps they could better defend Commonwealth members.
When the vote came up before the Commonwealth Assembly, there were eight in favor, and India and Brazil opposed. Though against it, once the Act of Integration and Armed Forces Reform was passed, they grudgingly abided by it. By 1920, the Commonwealth established a common chain of command, with the King at the top, and various generals stations around the world. It was not until 1922, that the actual armies began to pool their resources, and merged into new divisions. The 1st Royal Guards Division, based in the County of Holland,1 and under the command of the Count, lost half of its Netherlander manpower, and saw it replaced by an influx of Brazilian, Ceylonese, Boer and Indians soldiers. Thanks to Frederick’s ‘If One Falls, the Next Will Follow’ propaganda campaign, not all soldiers were dissatisfied by the monumental shuffling of up to two million men at arms throughout the 1920s.
The navies had an easier time of integrating. Aside from shuffling of crews on board the ships, and transfer of those ships, the only cosmetic change was that the nations flag was lowered to second place, and the Commonwealth flag fluttered at the top. Also, gone was the HMS, to be replaced by DCS (Dutch Commonwealth Ship). Unlike the armies, the navies’ territorial boundaries were the oceans of Earth. Brazilian and Ceylonese ships could sail into each other’s harbors just as easily as they could Amsterdam or Rotterdam. Integrations of Commonwealth forces lasted until 1935. Frederick III saw his visions of a united Commonwealth Armed Forces fulfilled just shortly before his own death.
Kingdom of New Holland
By 1919, the colony of New Holland grew substantially from its gold rush days. Gone were the mining camps, the saloons and the outlaws. When the gold was either depleted or taken over by companies, the rift raft eventually blew out of town, looking for the next big strike. Gold was again discovered in American and northern Canada, and the adventures chased after it. Gold changed everything in New Holland. Before its discovery, the inhabitants were content just herding their sheep and living the simple life.
After its discover, New Holland’s economy rapidly expanded and transformed the backwater province of the Indonesian colonial department into a separate entity. Revenue from mining was spent to build roads and rails, to provide water and irrigation and generally improve the colony. It had been a long standing Dutch philosophy stating government’s only real duty was to instigate public works, roads, aqueducts and so on. That was precisely what New Holland did, and its standard of living surpassed the rest of Indonesia, with the exception of Java.
By the end of the Great War, in which many New Hollanders fought with Indian and Ceylonese divisions against the British in both India and Australia. Fighting in their own backyard, the New Hollanders felt they earned their right to be a full member of the Commonwealth. New Holland was no longer satisfied with the limited self-determination granted to them by the United Provinces. They now demanded full self-governing as a realm within the empire.
In late 1918, delegates met in Perth to draft a constitution for New Holland. For the most part, these delegates were the higher ranking New Hollander officers along with a few influential members of the rural society. The prospect of the military writing a constitution left many in the Hague unsettled. After hearing about the convention, the United Provinces send their own delegates to oversee the writing, to ensure the constitution was up to Commonwealth standards.
To the observer’s surprise, the New Holland Constitution was far more progressive than any other. It called for equal rights for all inhabitants of New Hollands, European and Aboriginal, citizen and resident alike. It went even further, making New Holland the first member of the Dutch Commonwealth to insure universal suffrage for all citizens over the age of nineteen. Universal suffrage in New Holland would have ramifications across all Commonwealth members across the decade of the 1920s.
Satisfied that the New Hollanders exceeded expectations, the observers returned home, bringing with them the petition to join. In July of 1919, summer in the Hague yet winter in Perth, the Commonwealth Assembly approved New Holland’s admittance into the Commonwealth and bestowing to it statehood, full self-governing and making it another realm within the empire. The biggest debate within the constitution convention was what to make New Holland. There was little desire for a republic and much love for the King. Some believed New Holland was too small to be a Kingdom and proposed adopting a Principality, yet Frederick III was not a man to take a demotion. September 7, 1919, Frederick visited Perth in a tour of the Indian Ocean, and was crowned King of New Holland by its own Staaten-General.
Amendments
The biggest change in Commonwealth society, for all the states (except India, which was later in following) was giving women the franchise. For most of the history of the United Provinces, it was only the men who could vote, and not until the post-Napoleonic constitution that it was guaranteed in writing for all men. Women began to wonder that since they were citizens as well, why could they not vote? After New Holland became a fully independent member of the Dutch Commonwealth, the female population of other states looked on with envy as their counterparts on the Australian continent passed their votes.
Between 1920 and 1926, each member, with the exception of India, passed amendments to their constitution allowing for universal suffrage, starting with the United Provinces in December of 1920. India, given its deeply patriarchal history and conservative nature, has always been one of the slower members to progress with the rest of the world, but not without resistance from the Princes and Mullahs scattered across the subcontinent.
In the United Provinces, a series of colonial acts were passed, granting more self-governance to the colonies. By the time Frederick took the additional title of King of New Zealand in 1922, it was clear to those in the Hague that all the colonies would one day gain independence and membership into the Dutch Commonwealth. The Dutch believed it better to give the colonists the tools and experienced advisors to make it possible. For the most part, the colonies welcomed self-governance. They did not have full control over their own internal affairs, still having a governor-general appointed by the Staaten-General, and still subject to taxation from the Hague.
Iceland; the Nineteenth Province
By 1927, the future status of the closest of the United Provinces’ colonies, Iceland, came into question. Originally settled over a millennia ago by Vikings from Norway, the island was inherited by William II after the death of the last Danish King in the Seventeenth Century. For centuries, the Dutch gave little regard to the possession, using it as an excellent fishery and before the advent of petro-chemicals, for whaling stations.2
When Denmark regained its independence after the Congress of Vienna, the United Provinces held on to the island, along with Norway. However, Norway was one of the United Provinces immediately after the Act of Union in 1705, while Iceland remained a colonial possession, with no self-determination or regional government to mention. Its proximity to the Hague made it easy to control every aspect of the island’s management directly, without the need to appoint a governor-general.
Along with no consent over their own rule, the Icelander also lacked any say in the issue of taxation. Though low in population, Iceland paid its share of taxes to the mother country. Though the quantity of taxes were low, the key fish tax impacted the lives of everyone on Iceland. By the time distant New Zealand obtained independence, the Icelanders were looking forward to their own future. Should they not be independent.
Iceland lacked the population, even compared to the five hundred thousand inhabitants of New Zealand, to ever hope to remain a viable nation. If the Dutch did not rule over it, then only a matter of time would pass before the British or Swedes took possession of the island. Its location in the North Atlantic, along with Greenland and the Province of Norway gave the United Provinces a half-ring around Britain and a stranglehold on the much larger Swedish Empire. The Staaten-General would not give up control over Iceland.
The Icelanders could not very well stop eating fish, however, they boycotted any imports for the Dutch Commonwealth. Since Commonwealth ships were nearly exclusive in importing commerce onto the island, 1927 became a year of shortage in Iceland. With only fifty thousand inhabitants, Iceland could not hope to even scratch the Commonwealth’s economy, however traders were vexed enough by the boycott that they went to the Hague and petitioned the Staaten-General to force open the door.
To do so would likely cause the volcanic island to erupt into violence. With the exception of the Boer Wars, the Dutch nations have evolved without bloodshed. The current members of the Staaten-General were not about to be the first to revoke the sacred Dutch right to protest. However, they could not simply appease the Icelanders, for concern it might encourage other colonials to start their own embargoes. Iceland might not mean much to the economy, but if Formosa or Java did the same, it might prove problematic.
It was Otto, Duke of Bergen,3 who came up with the proposal in the Senaat. His own Province, Norway, was once a simple crown possession until it was admitted as a Province. Grant it, Denmark-Norway was an entire nation in personal union with the United Provinces, and Provincial status was stipulated in the treaty, whereas Iceland was but an island in the Atlantic. Otto proposed that Iceland should either be made a Province or annexed by Norway. The annexation was immediately rejected by every other member of the Senaat. For three hundred years, the First Chamber of the Staaten-General struggled to ensure no Province became overwhelmingly more powerful than the rest.
Before the decision could be made, the issue of who would represent Iceland in the Senaat was razed. Would Otto take the additional title of Duke of Iceland? No member of the Staaten-General would approve that. There was nobody qualified to take on such a title. The King might bestow it upon one of the generals or admirals during, but the Great War produced no Ernst van Bohr or Michel de Ruyter.
It was the Regent of Liege who came up with an acceptable compromise. The Bishopric of Liege had no hereditary ruler. Thanks to the deal made between the Bishop and Maurice van Oranje, Liege was eventually permitted to elect a regent. Perhaps Iceland should be the same. Whether the regency would be for life, or a limited term would be left for the Icelanders to decide. In 1927, the Staaten-General agreed to make Iceland the second nineteenth Province. The Icelanders, however, took an additional two years to form a government, elect a regent and gain admittance into the United Provinces.
Succession Crisis of 1936
Near the end of his reign and life, Frederick III took one last title under his belt; the King of Abyssinia. For the most part, following the toppling of Emperor Theodore Abyssinia changed little. By 1935, only a small percentage of the population came from the United Provinces, and they bought up land to build coffee plantations. The Abyssinians resented the foreign conquest and occupation, yet reaped the benefits of improved trade and infrastructure.
Frederick’s coronation in the Staaten-General building in Mogadishu represented the King’s last voyage overseas. It is not known exactly what the King died from, but it is believed to be from complications of tropical diseases. Frederick managed to outlive his brothers, and their sons, the last one dying indirectly from wounds received during the Great War. By 1935, the question of who would succeed Frederick to the throne was up in the air. One faction of the Senaat supported bringing a distant cousin into the core of the House of Oranje. Very few were in favor of simply declaring the House of Oranje extinct.
When the King finally died in early 1936, the United Provinces’ Staaten-General continued the debate, as did the Brazilians and Indians. The Boers cared little who their ‘lord protector’ was since that position was little more than ceremonial. The real power laid in the hands of the elected officials. Ceylon held off debate, waiting to see what the United Provinces would do. The decision of who would be head of the Commonwealth was not in the hands of the largest members, but its smallest.
Days after the King’s death, the New Holland Staaten-General nominated Frederick’s only surviving child, Juliana, to become Queen of New Holland. New Zealand followed suit in March. Before Juliana could accept, she would have to receive the approval of her own Staaten-General. Though Salic succession was not law in the Provinces, it was long standing tradition. Juliana was beloved by the people and had the full support of the House of Electorates, but this was a matter of state not the people, and thus the responsibility of the Senaat.
Over the course of the Spring of 1936, the Staaten-General was eventually won over to Juliana. By then, Ceylon and Brazil offered their crowns to her as well. In August 1936, Juliana took the crown and became the first Queen of the United Provinces. She was not Empress of India until late December, due to opposition of the native princes. In fact, she was almost crowned Princess of Java before Empress of India.
Java gained its own independence in January of 1937. While the debate for the monarch raged in national assemblies, the Commonwealth Assembly debated to status of Java. Should it be admitted as a single island, or should it be grouped with the rest of Indonesia. New Holland already broke away from the archipelago, and without Java, the islands were far poorer– that is until the discovery of petroleum around the island.
Java had less oil than Borneo or Sumatra. The Sultan of Brunei struck a deal with the VOC’s new division, VOC Oil. VOC Oil started off as Dutch Royal Shell in the early 1900s. Like with rail and steam, the VOC risked large sums of capital on unproven technology. When they bought Shell in the 1920s, it was still unknown if automobiles would run on petrol or electric. Inventors in Edison Labs in New Amsterdam continued to improve battery technology, making it almost on par with the inefficient engines. VOC’s own automotive division, VOC Auto, made headway in improving the efficiency of early Twentieth Century internal combustion engines.
They bet on gasoline and diesel as the fuel of the future. During the late 1930s, the gross colonial production of the remaining Indonesian islands doubled before 1940. The islands welcomed the reign of Juliana with high hopes for its future. Future division of the islands was put on hold until they developed to the point to be granted the status of a realm within the empire. However, Juliana’s reign did not start on a completely positive note. Enemies of the Dutch Commonwealth began to rebuild after the devastation following the Great War.
New Enemies
While the Dutch Commonwealth experienced an economic boom along with Germany, Sweden, Britain and the United States during the 1920s and 1930s, several other nations faced turmoil. The French economy was heavily taxed by the Great War and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, that coupled with the Balkans Revolution saw the rise of extreme rightist and nationalistic parties, though never to the extent that hit Germany.
The Republic of Spain faced a major downward spiral during the 1920s. Weak central government and the loss of the Great War prompted various nationalities of the Iberians Peninsula to rise up. In 1921, Portugal rose up for the first time if fifty years. The rebellion in Lisbon and Porto was violently crushed by the Spanish Army. Catalonia and Grenada rose up in 1922, followed by Asturias in 1923. All three were crushed, though Catalonia managed to gain temporary independence. The Spanish Army was weaken severely by the uprisings and the aftermath of Versailles.
In 1924, the Basque, original inhabitants of Iberia predating Rome, rose up and declared independence. Again the Spanish Army attempted to crush the uprising. However, the Basque learned from the earlier uprisings, and spent years planning their rebellion. In the Pyrenees, near the French border, the Spanish Army was defeated by the rebel Basques. The Army faced a near complete defeat at the hands of the Basque four weeks later.
By 1925, the Basque Republic was established, and the Spanish parliament entered into negotiations with the rebels. Furthermore, Spanish politicians pushed forward a new constitution, this one allowing autonomy for all nationalities. These concessions were more than a cadre of junior officers within the Spanish Army could stand. In their eyes, the reason the Basque defeated the Spanish Army was not do to will of the soldiers, but ineptitude of the commanding officers. Generals and colonels in Spain were, for the most part, political appointees.
Some officer, lead by Don Carlos de Vega, approached the eldest member of the exiled House of Bourbon, Carlos Bourbon, offering to restore the Bourbons to the Spanish throne. In the eyes of the junior officers, restoration of the monarchy would be the first step to restoring Spain’s greatness. And by installing Carlos as King, the junior officers would gain his favor, not to mention advise him and help remake the Spanish Army into a fighting force to make the Duke of Parma proud.
August 8, 1925, the junior officers simultaneously stormed the parliament building and the Spanish High Command. Members of parliament were all placed under arrest and removed from office.4 The generals who brought so much disgrace to the country were unceremoniously shot. Many of the parliament were sentenced to hard labor in prison, while the rest fled to France and the Italian Federation. On August 15, after the mass executions and sentencing, the officers roused the bishop in Madrid, ordering him to crown the new king.
That evening, King Carlos V restored the monarchy, and on the advisement of the junior officers, he abolished parliament. Condemnation of the rebirth of absolutism rang out across the continent, and further fueled the fires of revolution in the Balkans, and gave leftist parties in each country a new target to blast. As for the junior officers, they were promoted by the King of Spain and formed a Council of Generals to advise the new absolute monarch. Their first act was to crush the Basque Republic with such force, tens of thousand of refugees fled into France and across the Atlantic.
Spain’s example of extremism was understandable, but the turn in Germany was as shocking in the 1930s as it is today. With the advent of the Union of Balkan Socialist Republics, and their support or revolutionary parties across Germany forced the Kaiser to crackdown on any party with even the slightest hint of leftism in its name. For one German Party, it was a boon. With the name National Socialist German Worker’s Party, the NSDAP came into the crosshairs of German military intelligence. With each other suspect party the Army sent infiltrators into party ranks.
The soldier chosen was an Austrian born Corporal who, many psychologists now believe, already developed a pathological hatred for the Slavs following the Balkan Revolution. Reportedly he left Austro-Hungary to avoid conscription into the multi-ethnic army, only to enlist in the German Army in 1913. When he attended a National Socialist meeting, he stood up to challenge the party founder, Anton Dressler. Dressler in turn debated Hitler and in turn, the Corporal agreed more with the party’s stance enough to join the party. Upon returning his report that the National Socialist were anything but socialist, Hitler would not re-enlist5 and devoted his energy into the party.
By 1923, Hitler managed to knife and claw his way to the top of the party. His hard-hitting tactics and hate-filled speech drew thousands upon thousands to the party, however Dressler, disgusted by how the party deviated from his initial goals, left the party. Fearing reprisal from the party’s new leader, Dressler was one of the first to flee Germany, spending his exile in Switzerland until his death. For the most part, Hitler spoke what the average veteran thought; that Germany should have won the war. That it was betrayed by the Slavs, and by the aristocracy. That Germany was built upon old houses, and without any new blood, the government has grown stagnant. And most of all, by accepting a status quo ante bellum peace, the German ‘elitists’ allowed nearly two million Germans to die in vain.
In the 1920s, the Germany Empire expanded democracy, allowing multi-party elections in the lower house of the Reichstag. In a way, it was an emulation of both the United Provinces and the United States. More over, so was the upper house, and the Kaiser and the nobility were loath to give the people too much power. By 1933, they would regret permitting elections on a nation-wide scale. The National Socialist steadily rose during the election of 1928, though it did loose steam following scandals surrounding the party leadership.
The Kaiser worried about this party in particular. Not because of its charismatic leader; the Kaiser made the mistake of thinking Hitler as a joke. What he feared was that ninety percent of the Army, Navy and Air Force were National Socialist voters, if not outright party members. If the National Socialist ever get a majority, then this Austrian upstart could have the full backing of the armed forces.
As it turned out, the Kaiser’s concerns were justified. In 1933, when the National Socialists finally gained the majority, with nearly sixty percent of the Reichstag’s seats. The Kaiser was forced to name Hitler the chancellor. By 1934, the National Socialists were already hard at work. Opposition parties were banned, the upper house of the Reichstag purged, the Enabling Act giving full power to the new head of state, the Fuhrer, and the Kaiser along with the few loyal officers in his armed forces were already setting up a government in exile in Rio del la Plata, accompanied by as many elder statesmen and enemies of the party that could make the journey.
Within five years, the National Socialists purged their nation and put Fuhrer Germany on the track towards war. By September 1939, the country was ready for war. One of the party’s favorite topics was that of the perceived Slavic betrayal. It was not just the Slavs that brought the downfall of Austro-Hungary, but those of Poland-Lithuania. By abolishing the monarchy, it removed the main cause of the Great War and any hope of Germany controlling the nation. By all rights, the National Socialists declare, Poland should be under German rule. On the eve of war, Fuhrer Germany signed a pact with the Swedish Empire, granting them Lithuania in turn they do not interfere with the conquest of Poland.
Before the National Socialists could launch World War II6, Hitler knew he would have to keep Kaiser Germany’s allies, namely the Americans, occupied. The National Socialists had little sympathy there, but the Confederates embraced much of its nationalistic and racial beliefs. In 1928, several National Socialists infiltrated Confederate political circles and started the Confederate Bund, officially intended for German immigrants to the country.
However, the rhetoric of revenge against the Yankees and returning the Confederacy to its glory days rang too loud, and seldom in any language but English. The Confederate Bund was nothing more than the North American wing of the National Socialist party. The Confederate Bund’s rise to power far outstripped the NSDAP, and by 1934, the Confederate Bund not only dominated the Confederate congress, but also the Presidency of the Confederate States in the form of Anthony Bedford .
The Bund moved fast to consolidate its power. With a written constitution, the only way it could keep its hold was through amendments, that must be ratified by the states. The first such amendment was to repeal manumission. The Manumission Amendment became law in the 1890s and was designed to abolish slavery by massive compensation to the land-owning aristocracy. By repealing this amendment, the Bund reopened the institution of slavery. The tenant farmers and field hands were instantly the legal property of their employer, and millions of Africans in the Confederacy were soon forced back into slavery.
An amendment eliminating the one-term for President failed, and with the invasion of Poland on its way, Fuhrer Germany could ill afford to loose the Bund’s grip on Confederate power. Using both Confederate and German arms, the Bund in effect launched a coup against its self. Martial law was declared and voting postponed until ‘the crisis passed’. The crisis in question naturally being a slaver uprising in Georgia. Such a power play was dangerous, for the Confederate armed forces swore their allegiance to the constitution, not any party or man.
However, in 1939, the Confederate Army and Navy were too busy planning the invasion of the United States. Bedford was a bit of a megalomaniac, and had dreams of a Greater Confederate States, including all the land lost during the Great War, along with tradition southern states such as Missouri, Maryland and Delaware. Confederate Admirals and Generals were appalled by the idea of waging war with a nation several times more powerful than them and openly opposed the plan. Only one general, George Patton, had confidence it could be done, but only if they could knock the Union out of the fight within six months. Afterwards, the United States would be fully geared for war and unstoppable.
Invasion of Poland
On September 1, 1939, Fuhrer Germany launched its invasion of the Republic of Poland-Lithuania. Its pretext, and they did indeed invent one, was that Polish artillery fired upon German positions inside Germany. It is entirely possible that the Poles did fire, but not likely until after German soldiers marched across the frontier. Word of the invasion spread fast in the world of wireless transmissions, and being a member of the Entente7, the two remaining members, Britain and France, were immediately asked upon for assistance.
Britain declared war on September 3, along with its own miniature Commonwealth. France took longer, not declaring war until September 5. Despite Hitler’s continuous saber rattling concerning Poland-Lithuania, neither Britain nor France were prepared for war. British ships sortied from Scapa Flow, but the carrier HMS Eagle and HMS Hermes could not enter the Baltic Sea until after negotiations with the United Provinces.
The Dutch Commonwealth declared itself neutral in this war as it had with the last. They permitted free access to and from the Baltic, provided Dutch ships were not harassed. Queen Juliana and virtually every member of the Staaten-General knew that with its three neighbors at war, it was only a matter of time before Dutch neutrality was violated and the Commonwealth would be drawn into another war. Two Commonwealth divisions were pulled from Brazil, adding another forty-three thousand men in the defense of the Provinces. Further entrenchment and improving old fortifications were implemented, with a higher percentage of defense spending in the 1940 budget.
When Warsaw fell after three weeks, an emergency session of the Commonwealth Assembly was called. Generals wanted to know just how the Germans managed to overrun the Poles so swiftly. When the Germans forced a treaty upon the Poles that partitioned Poland-Lithuania, it was speculated that perhaps Sweden would ally itself with the Fuhrer. The Axis Pact was always a concern in the United Provinces; hardly any organization Spain was a part of escaped their notice. The Berlin-Madrid axis, along with the Japanese Empire and the Confederate States were problematic enough, but to add the sheer mass of Sweden behind it, and they might very well overwhelm the world.8
The delegates from Brazil proposed increasing the garrisons in the United Provinces, to defend against invasion. Queen Juliana was opposed to such measures, and not just because of the financial strain it would put on the Provinces. Germany had never been an enemy of the Dutch. They allied with Prussia in various wars against France, and the Provinces were once part of the Holy Roman Empire, an essentially German institution. As a result, the bulk of the defenses were built along the border with France.
Juliana did consent, however, that the Commonwealth fleet based out of Oslo and Rotterdam should actively patrol the North Sea. If for no other reason than to not be caught in port because of attack. To this, Juliana reminded her delegates yet again that Germany is not their enemy. Still, there was prudence in keeping the fleet a mobile and thus harder to hit target of ‘enemy’ aircraft. Unlike many other navies, which viewed aircraft as a mere scouting tool, the Commonwealth Navy built itself several aircraft carriers, to escort the big guns.
In November, the emergency session of the Commonwealth Assembly came to an end with little fruition. Little did Juliana know that her decision to allow the fleet to patrol indeed saved the Commonwealth Navy from utter destruction. War was in the air, but not on the minds of Netherlanders. Christmas was near, and families would be gathering. It was a time of celebration, and to give thanks for peace and prosperity. What the Dutch people did not realize was this would be the last they would see of peace and liberty for five long years.
Operation Arctic Thunder
With the exception of the British attempting to fight their way through the Denmark Straits, the Germans launched no immediate attack after their conquest and partition of Poland-Lithuania, not even as much as a single aircraft raid. For the time being, it was believed that Hitler only wanted Poland and nothing further, though in his own political auto-biography, he ranted excessively about destroying Slavo-Communism. Again, the leaders of the Entente failed to take Fuhrer Germany serious.
The Silent War ended on April 1, 1940, with German bombers pounding Norwegian cities from Oslo to Bergen, followed by an airborne assault against Oslo. This attack startled both France and Britain, as they did not then comprehend the reason for attacking the United Provinces of Norway. In later years, during the war with Sweden, the Germans would use bases in Norway to cut off the Swedes from trade.
Following the invasion, an emergency session of the Commonwealth Assembly was called, though would be delayed by a day due to the time it would take Brazilian delegates to fly via airship to Amsterdam. Queen Juliana immediately ordered the fleet in the North Sea to move on Norway, to first stop any further invasion, and secondly to destroy the paratroopers occupying Oslo. Commonwealth ships in the North Sea came under immediate fire by U-boats, with the loss of one cruiser (traveling alone) and several other ships were damage.
Before the Commonwealth could officially declare war, some fifteen German divisions crossed the frontier. First to fall was the town of Oldenzaal, closest to the German border. The city put up no resistance and panzers simply rolled through the town continuing onward into Drenthe. The Lord of Drenthe ordered the Provincial militia to take to the field immediately. Only minutes after the first German soldier crossed the frontier, hundreds of airplanes hit serval Dutch cities, from Rotterdam to Luxembourg.
The worst hit city was that of Liege. The attack was such a surprise, that bombs were falling before either the Regent or Bishop of Liege knew the Germans crossed the border. However, the Regent did deploy some air defenses after hearing about the attacks across Norway. The meager air-defense battalion did little against German bombers. After the wave flew over, much of the city was burning, and the ancient cathedral, the same place where coronations of Kings (and Queen) took place.
By April 5, German forces entered Maastricht, sweeping aside the Provincial garrison, and by nightfall the same day, a second prong of the invasion took the ruins of Liege with little difficulty. When attempting to advance on Amsterdam on the 6th, the Hollanders breached several levies and dikes, flooding the fields and seriously impeding German advances. This did not stop a northern flanking maneuver from Drenthe, taking Harlingen and nearly cutting Amsterdam off from the North Sea.
On April 7, four days after the invasion of the low countries began, Germans surrounded Amsterdam with one thrust from the north, and another two divisions quickly bypassing the flooded fields. The Hague fell on the night of April 7, completely encircling Amsterdam, which surrendered the next day. Within five days, the northern Province fell into the control of Fuhrer Germany. As soon as the Hague fell and Amsterdam surrendered, the Germans pursued escaping Dutch officials to Middleberg in Zeeland.
It was here that the House of Oranje boarded the battleship DCS Prinz van Oranje, bound to Recife. It was a repeat of the Napoleonic War, where the Dutch royal family again were forced into exile. German generals were under orders to capture the Dutch queen and head of the Commonwealth, and this pursuit delayed actions in the southern Provinces. At 0100, on April 8, 1940, the Prinz van Oranje left port, escorted by three cruisers and eight destroyers and the (light)
aircraft carrier Rotterdam.
When the Kaiser fled Germany in 1934, most of the High Seas Fleet went with him, leaving Fuhrer Germany to rebuild its navy. The Fuhrer had no carriers, one battleship and three battlecruisers, along with ten cruisers, and dozens of submarines. Only two U-Boats were in place to intercept the royal entourage, both sunk quickly by leading destroyers. The greatest threat to Juliana’s safety came from the air.
JC-13s from the Rotterdam fought off many of the German aircraft, but the light carrier could only field twenty fighters. The Luftwaffe came after them with over a hundred aircraft, though many were level bombers. And those missed the target. Dive-bombers faired worse, for they were viewed as the greatest threats. Dutch fighters downed many of them, but not without the loss of a cruiser, the DCS Maas.
A few of the German bombers flew low, equipped with torpedoes. Two torpedoes sunk a destroyer, and three more were dead on for the Prinz van Oranje. One torpedo hit the ship at the bow, but proved to be a dud. A second missed, but the third proved to be quite live. The third torpedo was intercepted by the destroyer Trident, which passed in front of the torpedo, taking the hit for the Queen. The ship was struck amidship, split in half and sank quickly. Only seven survivors made it to British shore.
While the royal family made its escape, fighting continued in the southern Provinces. Luxembourg was overwhelmed on April 5. Namur fell on April 7, and those German divisions linked with the force out of Luxembourg, and continued into France along with several divisions that entered the Duchy of Luxembourg after the city fell. All of the United Provinces were under German control by April 10, with the exception of Brussels.
Commonwealth and German forces fought fiercely around the city. No matter the valor of the Commonwealth soldiers, the Germans were slowly pushing them back into the besieged city. Germans spared little in the way of artillery and aircraft to neutralize Brussels; the bulk of their forces storming through France. The people of Brussels suffered greatly during the siege and latter during occupation. During the siege, every able-bodied Netherlander in the city pitched in to help in the defense, from building breastworks to cooking for the soldiers. No matter its defiance, Brussels fell seventeen days after the invasion started, on April 22.
The Other Ocean
A month after the Germans launched their assault against the United Provinces, the resource-starved Japanese moved against Indonesia. In order to secure a supply line to the oil rich islands, they first landed soldiers on Formosa and Hainan. With millions of soldiers already based in China, the Japanese had a nearly inexhaustible invasion force after they won control of the Strait of Taiwan. The bulk of the Commonwealth Pacific fleet was based around Java, and the few ships in Formosa were sunk or disabled while still in port.
Commonwealth forces only numbered some five divisions on the island, far more than the initial invasion. However, with control of the seas and air, the Japanese continued to funnel reinforcements and resupplies. Formosa held out far longer than the United Provinces, Taipei, the final holdout, surrendering on September 8. Hainan faired worse, surrendering after three weeks of heavy fighting. On both islands, the Japanese attempted to present themselves as liberators.
But liberators to what? Japan said ‘Asia for the Asians’, but the Chinese on both islands long since considered themselves Dutch. They spoke the Dutch language, adopted Dutch personal names, and knew nothing but Dutch liberty for centuries. For being liberators, the Japanese were quick to suppress any dissent on the island. When the Formosans attempted to protest Japanese policy on food rationing, the crowds were met not with reassurances but the rattle of machine guns.
The Japanese Navy and Army were very divided, so much so that it was a wonder they advanced as far and as fast as they did. With the Army gaining much glory, the Navy set out to best them. The Japanese Navy sought out and found the Commonwealth fleet in the Java Sea. In what would be the first case of naval warfare without ships actually seeing each other, Japanese carriers launched an attack against the Commonwealth.
Under the command of Admiral Karl Doorman, the Commonwealth had only one carrier, and it was stocked with mostly fighters. Fighters that happened to be obsolete compared to the legendary ‘Zero’, and were easily swept out of the skies by veterans of three years worth of war with China. Even with the fighter cover effectively destroyed, the Japanese bombers first targeted the fleet’s lone carrier, the DCS Delft. It is unknown whether or not the Japanese knew the significance of the carrier’s name, and by sinking it that they committed a grievous insult to the House of Oranje. If they did, it is doubtful they even cared.
With their air cover destroyed along with a carrier and a destroyer, the Commonwealth fleet moved closer to Java, in hopes of air cover from the island. The air fields were the first targets of the Japanese air forces. Many of the fighters were destroyed on the ground, leaving the island vulnerable. The only thing Doorman managed to accomplish was to back his fleet against a wall. They might not maneuver against a surface fleet, but the Japanese did not intend to slug it out with guns.
Instead the fleet was destroyed by two more air attacks. Admiral Doorman went down with his flagship, the battleship DCS William IV. Only after both navy and air forces were destroyed on March 16, 1941, did the Japanese begin to land soldiers on the island. The island’s defenses and morale were both eliminated in two weeks, with the garrison surrendering on April 1, 1941, one year after the Commonwealth was plunged into war.
The Bermuda Conference
On September 15, 1940, American, Commonwealth and Kaiser German diplomats met on Bermuda to discuss the course of action during the war. An alliance between the three was signed, ‘for the duration of hostilities’. Since Spanish captured Cape Verde, the Dutch lost any hold in the eastern Atlantic. There was great concern that the Fuhrer Germans could use airfields on the island to bomb targets in Brazil.
Brazil’s industrial capacity was several times that of the United Provinces. Loss of the mother country hit morale, but destruction in Brazil might cost the Commonwealth the war. The Dutch wished to make taking back those islands the top priority, for it would also allow a blockade of the North Atlantic. The Commonwealth planned further invasions of the Azores and Canaries. For defeating Spain, the Commonwealth would need assistance from the Americans, whose only industrial output exceeded any one Commonwealth member (but not the Commonwealth as a whole).
The Kaiser wished to win his nation back, but to do that, they would need the assistance of Britain, if for no other reason than as a base to invade Europe. To reach Britain, they would have to push the Spanish out of the Atlantic. Both the Dutch and Americans agreed that Spain would have to be completely knocked out of the war. With the question of France hanging in the air, it was known that Commonwealth and Kaiser forces alone would not suffice. To win back Europe, they needed America’s help.
However, America was busy on its own continent, fighting the Fuhrer’s puppets, the Confederate Bund. Unlike Japan or Spain, Hitler never considered the Confederates true allies. He knew enough about the Americans to know that after the Great War, they were unchallenged in North America. Their involvement in Europe would tip the scales against the Axis. In order to keep them out of the war, the Confederate Bund would cause as much damage to America’s infrastructure and perhaps prevent them from entering the European war, even after the inevitable United States victory. What he did not know, was that Congress and the President both decided the only outcome of the North American war would be full restoration of the Union.
That alone would keep the bulk of American forces busy for the duration. However, the Commonwealth knew the Americans could not aid against Spain and German until after the Confederates were defeated. That would be the first point of the Bermuda Conference: 1) the Confederate States must be defeated first. Next; 2) Spain must be knocked out of the war. Lastly, Germany would be liberated. The Americans and Kaiser wished for a Germany-First strategy before moving against the Japanese. However, with so many Commonwealth citizens under Imperial occupation, the Dutch could not afford this. They would fight both Japan and Germany at the same time.
The Commonwealth immediately pledged support against the Confederates, only to be rebuffed by their American allies. Since the goal was restoration, there could be no foreign soldiers on American soil, north or south. The Dutch did, however, manage to cut off the Confederate invasion force on Cuba, but respected American wishes and would not land soldiers or sail into the territorial waters. By the end of 1941, after less than two years, the Americans destroyed the Confederate States, and began to allocate soldiers for operations against Germany.
Battle of the Atlantic
In March of 1942, Commonwealth plans for the North Atlantic were drastically accelerated by attacks from Cape Verde. The raid consisted of only a handful of German long-range maritime bombers, and did little damage. However, the Commonwealth Assembly in Recife believed this to be a trial run. Though little damage occurred, beach side houses were destroyed and one bomb hit near the VOC Steam shipyard’s dry dock, the fact the bombers could reach Brazil with impunity might just encourage the Germans to produce more of these four engine bombers. When hundreds of bombers appear in the skies of Recife, Salvador, Mauricistadt, Natal and Cayenne, then the Commonwealth Assembly was sure significant damage would occur.
It was with much advisement that Queen Juliana ordered War Plan Lilac, as the operation to take back Cape Verde was called. Commanding the Commonwealth Atlantic Fleet, much rebuilt thanks to Brazilian and Ceylonese shipyards, was none other than Admiral Dirk Jan van Natal, veteran of forty years service in both Commonwealth and Royal (Brazilian) Navies. He was renown as a submarine captain during the Great War for his daring and subterfuge. His most famous exploit, one that earned him the Brazilian Medal of Merit and promotion to full Commander was the attack on the HMS Behemoth, a British dreadnought. To this date, the submarine Kingfisher is the only submarine known to sink a battleship.
His fleet consisted of two new carriers, the Michel de Ruyter and Maarten Tromp, along with battleships Prinz van Oranje, King Maurice I, and the Duke of Luxembourg, eight cruisers, twenty-one destroyers. The Commonwealth Marines delivered six regiments, numbering some eighteen thousand men. The Marines were not embarked on typical transports, but rather the armed freighters of the VOC. Some of these modified transports either held heavy guns, depth charges, and in one out of every six cases, a flight deck with four fighters. Since the days of its conception, the VOC had a habit of arming its merchantmen and manning its own private navy.
The VOC had a personal stake in the Atlantic Expedition. After all, it was its shipyards that were bombed. VOC contracts with the Commonwealth required ships to be delivered before payment. To loose a shipyard to enemy bombing would severely crunch the company’s bottom line. Unlike many modern corporation, the VOC was fiercely nationalistic. In times of national crisis, the company would put the benefit of the Dutch people over its own profit margins. Though the VOC was known for high quality ships, it could not produce them fast enough to meet demands. Thus the Commonwealth was force to further contract with shipyards around the world.
In particular, American shipyard prospered after the fall of the Confederates. VOC shipwrights frowned upon the average quality of American ships. However, they were deeply impressed at the rate the Americans pumped out cargo ships, much faster than the enemy could ever hope to sink. As with in the past, when the VOC saw a good idea, foreign or not, it would adopt it for its own use. America’s production-line ship building was adapted, but with such a proud maritime tradition, the VOC refused to put numbers above quality. After the war’s end, the VOC’s ship building department was forced to shut down several yards around the world due to the massive excess of second-hand freighters.
On April 7, 1942, the Commonwealth fleet launched preliminary air attacks against the German-built airfields in Cape Verde. In fifteen minutes, all the long-range bombers were destroyed on the ground, and one of Spain’s two carriers was sent to the bottom of the Atlantic. A second carrier, the King Philip II, was damaged, but remained afloat. With enemy air cover eliminated, a second air raid was called off in favor of a more traditional approach.
Before landing could occur, Admiral van Natal wanted the Spanish fleet swept aside. Since its war with America, Spain’s place on the oceans of the world was no longer what it use to be. On board the Prinz van Oranje, van Natal lead the fleet into battle. With Commonwealth ships in sight, the Spanish admiral attempted to scuttle his wounded carrier, with little success. Commonwealth cruisers fought of their Spanish counterparts, sinking three of the four. The Prinz van Oranje pulled up along side the King Philip II. Marines from the carrier boarded the damaged carrier. It was the last time a boarding at sea would occur in naval warfare. To this day, the hull of the King Philip II can be viewed on the grounds of the Commonwealth Naval Academy in Recife, as the largest trophy ever taken.
Remaining Spanish ships were forced to retreat to the Canary Islands while Commonwealth ships began to bombard positions in the Cape Verde islands. The Spanish quickly abandoned most islands, focusing their defense in the port of Bohrstadt. They planned to wait for reinforcements, but when the Spanish fleet attempted to sortie from the Canaries, Commonwealth carriers launched attacks, sinking the remaining cruiser, two destroyers and six troop transports and cargo ships. For all intent purpose, the Spanish Navy ceased to be a factor in the war.
The Fuhrer German Navy refused to send what few surface ships it possessed in defense of Spanish bases in the Atlantic. Nor could it afford any soldiers to aid in defense; seventy-five percent of the Fuhrer’s resources poured into the war against Sweden. The rest was required to hold down the Balkans and western nations under German control. Nor did the National Socialists fully trust their own soldiers. There was still admiration for the Kaiser, who by law was the head of the German Empire. Not only where there resistance movements across occupied Europe, but in the heart of Germany as well. There was a great concern German soldiers, or even whole units might defect.
Less than three days after Cape Verde was fully under Commonwealth control, a joint Commonwealth-Kaiser German invasion force landed on several of the Azores islands. With the Azores under control of the Commonwealth, Dutch B-8s and B-9s would be able to strike cities and bases on the Atlantic coast of Spain. In the Azores, the Spanish Navy was absent from battle, though several U-boats were in the vicinity of the islands, and took shots at the invasion fleet. On Commonwealth cruiser suffered damage, but at the cost of four U-boats. German-built radar stations in the islands warned of the Commonwealth fleet, allowing the submarines to put to sea. It was hoped by Admiral Baron van Voorst (van Natal still in Cape Verde, organizing an island-hope to the Canaries) to strike those boats while still in port. The more U-boats that could be sunk in port, the fewer that would harass Commonwealth, and other Allied and Entente ships later.
Spanish General Morgan de la Sona held out for a week, before his garrison was surrounded in the highlands. When van Voorst offered terms, de la Sona ordered his artillery to fire one shot each, for the honor of the Spanish Army, before accepting terms. Before surrender took place, Spanish guns were packed full of concrete and pushed into the ocean. De la Sona was methodical in destroying anything the Dutch or Germans could use against his homeland.
The Canary Islands resisted far harder than any other outlying Atlantic possessions. It is said that King Carlos ordered the garrison to defend the islands to the last. There was no hope of a garrison on an island, facing a foe with maritime supremacy in holding out. Spain knew the next logical target was North Africa, and hoped to gain enough time to fortify the Moroccan coast. They received far less time than hoped. Landings in the Canaries took place on July 12. Spain spread their own garrison across all the islands, but the Commonwealth bypassed most, focusing only on taking harbors. Carrier-based aircraft and battleship guns neutralized small airfields and coastal defense guns across the islands. Many Spanish soldiers spent the remainder of the war on what van Natal called ‘a prisoner-of-war camp ran by the enemy, for the enemy.’
With the Atlantic swept clean of Spanish presence and bases, the U-boat menace shrunk drastically. Bombers and destroyers continued constant anti-submarine patrols in the Greenland Sea. Without the High Seas Fleet, Fuhrer Germany could not hope to get past the British on the North Sea and capture Iceland. Bombers from occupied Norway did strike at Iceland, but caused little damage. The range and weather were extreme enough to limit the payload. From Hitler’s stand point, striking at Brazil was far more vital than taking Iceland. His lack of naval strategic insight prevented Britain from being cut off, along with Sweden, and possibly cost the world-wide fascists plot the war.
Operation Torch
By November of 1942, the Americans afforded to spare only three divisions for the invasion of North Africa. Called ‘Operation Torch’ by the allies, it called for three landing along the Moroccan coast. Spain expended significant resources to build up fortifications along the Atlantic Coast of Africa. They knew that a direct invasion of Spain was unlikely, for bases in Africa would threaten the allies’ flanks. What they did not realize was just how much the allies would outnumber them.
Because of Berlin’s promises, the King and the rest of Madrid written off the Americans as a factor in the war. They would be to busy trying to hold down the Confederate States. Another error on the Axis behalf was overestimating the usefulness of the Confederate Bund. Far from uniting the Confederate States, the Bund managed to drive the Confederate people further away, much to the point that it was a coup on behalf of the Confederate Army that removed them from office. Feelings for reunification were higher than anticipated in the south, especially after the betrayal Confederates believed by both the Bund and Fuhrer German.
The Kaiser’s own forces would equal seven divisions, including one armored division under the able General Erwin Rommel. As soon as bases in Morocco were secured, the Kaiser’s air force, commanded by Hermann Goering, would relocate from Rio del la Plata. The Commonwealth would throw several more divisions against North Africa, however, the initial landing called for three divisions, one for each landing zone. Only after port facilities were secured would the rest make the journey across the Atlantic.
Landings began at pre-dawn hours on November 11, after several hours of nighttime bombardment. The effectiveness of the shelling was less than hoped for, but Admiral van Voorst was confident that the Spanish received little sleep. Commonwealth forces landed near Casablanca, but lack of Spanish fortifications along the coast allowed the Dutch to move faster than planned. However, what they did not realize, was that it was Spain’s plan to wait until the enemy gained a toe-hold before throwing them back into the sea.
Commander of the landing force, General Izaak Reijinders, used the lull in the Spanish response to immediately thrust inland. His actions are what spared the Commonwealth invasion the casualties suffered by the Kaiser’s Army further south. The Germans were nearly thrown back into the sea, and probably would have, had the Spanish in Casablanca not called for reinforcements. The invasion received assistance from the Arabs native to the land. Nobody ever asked them if they wanted the Spanish to rule over them, and they did not.
General uprisings by the Arab population preceded allied advances across the Atlas Mountains and into Algeria and Tunisia. By the time Commonwealth forces broke through the Atlases, Spanish organized resistance collapsed, to be replaced by brutal civil war between colonists and natives. Americans fought to subdue both sides and insure a degree of stability during the occupation. Commonwealth forces simply secured their supply lines and bypassed out-of-the-way destinations. If the Americans wished to waste time in dealing with Spain’s mess, then let them. As for the Dutch, they drove on to Tunis, which fell in April 1943 by a joint attack from east and west.9
Spanish Knockout
During the summer of 1943, Sicily and Sardinia were liberated from Spanish occupation. Much to the annoyance of his Axis partner, Carlos V was forced to ask Fuhrer Germany for aid against the Allies and Entente. Despite the ideological clout of the government in Berlin, many generals insisted that they reinforce Spanish holdings. From Sardinia, their enemies could either attack Italy, southern France or strike at Spain itself. Hitler ordered addition divisions into Italy, believing it was the next target.
On October 12, he was proven wrong. A joint Commonwealth-American-German-British invasion force struck the Balearic Islands. The British landed on Minorica, the others on Majorca. Though not officially allied with the Allies, Britain agreed with the Bermuda Conference and the necessity to knock Spain out of the war before turning their full attention to Germany. The Commonwealth had the potential to eliminate Spain all on its own, if not for the Japanese menace in the Pacific. The fact that any of the Axis members lasted as long as they did is testimony to their coordinated attacks on the Dutch Commonwealth as a whole.
On December 22, 1943, the Allies pressed harder, landing sixty thousand soldiers on the Catalonian beaches north and south of Valencia. Upon hitting Spain Proper, it was learned there was a great disparity between colonial soldiers and those fighting for their homeland. Spanish resistance proved far fiercer than anticipated. Much so, that before Madrid fell in April of 1944, the Allies poured in over three hundred thousand soldiers, tanks and guns. The war in Spain was a slow but steady chipping away at various rings of fortifications on the road to Madrid.
Madrid fell on May 7, 1944, exactly one month after the Americans and Italians launched their own invasion of the Italian mainland, and almost a month before the invasion of Normandy. The war in Spain did not end with the toppling of King Carlos V and establishment of a provisional government.10 Three days after the King’s removal11, Two German armies crossed the Goranne River into Spanish-occupied Aquitaine. Hitler’s invasion of Spain drew away much needed soldiers from the decisive battle on the English Channel.
War Plan Tulip
On June 6, 1944, the largest invasion in the history of warfare took place, when several divisions of Commonwealth, American, British (and Britain’s ‘Commonwealth’) and Kaiser German soldiers crossed the English Channels and landed at Normandy. Preceding the invasion by several hours were 43rd Commonwealth Paratrooper Division, and the American 101st Airborne (known as the Warbling Turkeys)12, which captured key bridges and positions inland of the beaches.
For a week, the Allies and Entente struggled against the remaining Axis in Normandy. Victory was not a foregone conclusion during this crucial week in June. Even as late as June 17, the Fuhrer German counterattack drove the Kaiser’s forces back several kilometers. It was not until the first week of July that Normandy was fully liberated and the invasion beachhead was secure. This says much about the Dutch Commonwealth’s military might, launching the largest invasion ever during the same time when fighting ripped through Indonesia, with landings on Sumatra in August of 1943, and Java in January 1944. Unlike the Spanish, the Japanese did not surrender and seldom gave ground.
The invasion of Normandy was but a modified version of War Plan Tulip. Tulip was the code name given by the United Provinces to the United Provinces. It involved invading their own nation to liberate it from foreign occupation. The plan originated from the Napoleonic War, and the fact that such a small, coast-hugging nation would always be at the mercy of larger opponents. The Dutch could close shipping to any nation, but if that nation was willing to take the economic impact, there was little the Provinces could do without Commonwealth reinforcements.
During the planning stages of the invasion of Europe, Commonwealth General Conrad Hendrick van Semarang, designed a two-prong invasion of northern Europe. Normandy was the first part, one that involved all the Commonwealth’s temporary allies. Van Semarang was unique amongst commanders in Europe, for he was the only Muslim general in the entire theater. Born on Borneo, in a town near the Brunei border in 1892, van Semarang served with distinction during the Great War along the Maas.
Though born on Borneo while the island was still undergoing Dutchification, van Semarang considered himself every bit as Dutch and Ceylonese, Brazilians and even the Netherlanders himself. While others from his town found work for Dutch Royal Shell, and later VOC Oil, van Semarang decided to serve his King (and later Queen). His patriotism prompted a second, Commonwealth-only phase of the invasion. This part of War Plan Tulip called for the direct invasion of the Provinces, and freeing them from years of brutal occupation.
Life During Occupation
The Occupied Provinces (all but Iceland were under Fuhrer German control) suffered the most severe crackdown on liberty since the nation’s founding, over three centuries previous. Newspapers were shutdown, radio stations placed under the control of the German Army. Military governors were placed in power over each Province. Most of the Provincial rulers went into exile with the rest of the Staaten-General and the Queen. Only the Countess of Artois missed the boat. Countess Jeanette had the means to escape, but refused to leave while her subject suffered under the Fuhrer’s occupation. For her troubles, the Germans placed the Countess under house arrest, and General von Beck attempted to rule the County of Artois in her name. The Artoisers did not buy the farce.
Occupational authorities heavily rationed goods that the Dutch people long since took for granted. Sugar and coffee were confiscated for use by the Germans, leaving little to none for Netherlanders. At first there was protest, for it was a long standing Dutch tradition to speak out at perceived injustices. For their troubles, the occupying authorities threw them into the one of many detention centers erected around the Provinces. For the native-born Netherlanders and Commonwealth citizens, the occupation was a major inconvenience, and a source to spark resistance. For the tens of thousands of Balkan refugees, it was far worse.
Though they were Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman by birth, they were Netherlander by choice. For when their countries were destroyed by revolution and to be replaced by the Marxists Balkan Union, many found it easy to embrace their new nation; for their old one was dead. When Albanians, Croatians, Crimeans and so on first arrived, they were held in suspicion, and not fully accepted. However, when a far more violent foreign invasion occurred, all the Dutch people united behind their nation. At first, many could not understand why these first-generation Netherlanders were being carted away. They have committed no crime, violated no occupational mandate, done nothing to warrant their singling out by the Germans. The only clue to pop up in 1940, was the term Slav.
Ironically, these immigrants were the most fanatical of the Dutch Resistance. By 1941, after ‘Slavic’ round-ups were taking place for many months, there was not a single Balkan immigrant who was not connected to the resistance. By then, most of the people who spoke Serbian, Slovakian, Polish, and other Slavic tongue as their first language were already vanished, relocated to unknown destinations. It was a war on culture as it was on nations, but why attack these people, they were not any of those nationalities, they were Dutch.
It was the same story all over occupied Europe, the Slavs vanished from their adopted homes. Hitler’s true ambitions were made clear during Operation Stormbird in late 1940, the invasion of the Union of Balkan Socialist Republics. The ‘communist menace’ was all but destroyed by early 1941. Despite the devastation, no refugees from the Balkans appeared on distant shores. It was as if the Germans went through great lengths to seal the Balkan border.
This was all very traumatic to the refugee community, but the Dutch Resistance had higher priorities than to fight the Germans on the other side of the continent; such as fighting them in their own home. At first, the resistance did everything it possibly could to make the occupation force’s stay in the United Provinces as difficult as possible. Some actions were of downright defiance to the Germans, such as on the night of February 5, 1941, some brazen Netherlanders managed to infiltrate a German airbase near Lier, steal sugar from the pilot’s mess, dump it into the fuel tanks of the pilot’s planes, and just to make absolutely certain the Germans knew who was responsible, the perpetrators rose the orange-white-and-blue banner of the United Provinces over the airfield. Needless to say, those Germans responsible for security that night were severely punished.
Any and all attempts at normalcy the Dutch people attempted to create failed. Netherlanders continued to tend the fields and work the factories. The United Provinces faced a partial economic collapse during the Occupation Years. Many foreign speculators who made fortunes on the Amsterdam Stock Market, sold off their shares and commodities the day Germany launched its attack. When they fled the United Provinces, they took with them the largest single-day transfer of wealth in Dutch history. Companies were ruined and the banks of Amsterdam faced a run.
The Bank of Amsterdam, a bank that weathered centuries of economic ups and downs, would sooner face a world-wide depression than what the Germans did to that institution. To fund the German war machine, Hitler ordered the banks plundered, billions of guilders in gold and silver were stripped from the financial capital of the world and shipped east across the Wesser. The Fuhrer Government did not stop with the banks, cultural artifacts were pillaged, including some of the greatest works of van Gogh.
For a nation that long since depended upon trade for its survival, German occupation of the ports and harbors found many traders and merchants instantly out of work. Larger traders, with offices in other Commonwealth states, would survive the occupation, but the small, individual trader, a long standing Dutch tradition, was wiped out before New Year’s of 1941. Many factories were taken under the control of occupational authorities, and put to use for the German war effort. Many loyal Netherlanders quit rather than build bullets and bombs for the enemy.
Despite the nationalistic spirit of the Dutch people, so strong it drove many to go hungry rather than assist conquerors, the Netherlands faced the same bane as all occupied nations; collaboration. When not harassing the Germans, the Resistance targeted any and all that overtly aided the Germans. Workers in factories were spared the retaliation, for there were still families than needed feeding, but those who worked with and for the Gestapo were often found in the morning, quite dead.
Though many individuals would rise up against the occupiers, the Resistance did its best to keep a low profile. It specialized in both sabotaging the enemy, and aiding fellow Netherlanders left unemployed and destitute by the occupation.13 It was not until the middle of 1944, that the Dutch Resistance rose up against the occupiers. During the Battle of Normandy, which the Dutch Resistance heard about only after the invasion took place, the Resistance blew up several rail lines and bridges, preventing Germans from rushing reinforcements across the Rhine and into France.
For their deeds, the occupational authority cracked down on all the Provinces. Thousands were arrested in raids. Those not executed immediately as ‘terrorists’ were deported to the east, to the same places the ‘Slavs’ went. Only days after declaring the Dutch Resistance destroyed, Gestapo leader, Reinhardt, was gunned down in his car while it drove through the streets of Wilstract in Groningen. In response, the town of four thousand was razed to the ground, with over half of its population killed in the town’s destruction.
As bad as life was for Netherlanders, it was far worse for Formosans and Javans. The Principality of Java was never fully subjugated by the Japanese. Though they occupied ports, airfields and coastal area, but never the interior. They were only interested in controlling the island and seas around it, for the even larger oil fields of Sumatra and especially Borneo. Though Japan would continue to proclaim Asia for the Asians, they simply could not spare the resources to bring Java into full compliance, at least not while fighting multiple enemies on multiple fronts.
Formosa, however, was another story. As was stated earlier, when the Formosans attempted to protest the Japanese the same way they would the Commonwealth, the Japanese replied with the rat-tat of machine guns. That was just the start. To the Dutch, race meant little, but to the Japanese it meant everything. Those ‘racially’ European, were interned in camps across the island. However, after centuries, and mostly Dutch male colonization, there was little that could be called ‘white’. What the Japanese did not understand was that ‘race is skin-deep, but nations go to the heart’. The racially Asian, i.e. those whose ancestors came from southern China, considered themselves Formosans, and ‘as Dutch as the next man’.
While the Europeans were interned, the Japanese, claiming to liberate the Chinese, repressed them with the same vigor as they did on mainland Asia. Japanese nationalism in turn sparked Dutch nationalism for all the islanders. The love of nation was so strong, that one monk gave up obtaining Nirvana this lifetime for the sake of his country. Like most Buddhist monks, Singhanda Mantama attempted to resist Japanese occupation through non-violent means, including civil disobedience. The Japanese would crush any and all disobedience, and further retaliate by destroying several Theravada temples, along with Catholic and Protestant churches.
Born in India, Mantama, like most Indians, was at first suspicious of the Dutch. Unlike Ceylon, Java and Formosa, who were made Dutch over the course of centuries of colonization and assimilation, India was conquered in a relatively short time. Aside from southern India, which was inherited from Portugal following United Provinces’ independence, the rest of the subcontinent was brought under Dutch rule by military force between 1783 to the 1870s. Some Indian states allied themselves with the Dutch, and thus kept their own languages and cultures (though Commonwealth culture would slowly filter in). The states brought into compliance by force, in turn had the Dutch language, law and customs forced upon them. This odd arrangement makes India the most cosmopolitan of Commonwealth states, and the most prone to instability.
Mantama grew up in northern India, in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Even as recent as the 1930s, when Mantama left India for Formosa, India was still backwards compared to the rest of the Commonwealth. Because of its diversity, India was always the slowest Dutch nation to adapt. Industrialization, which occurred in the United Provinces, Brazil and Formosa during the Nineteenth Century, is still occurring in India of the Twenty-first Century. However, Mantama did not leave in search of a better life, but in search of Enlightenment.
His quest for Enlightenment came to an end when Japanese bombs began to rain near his monastery in 1940. His, along with the Formosans’ world, was turned upside down when the Japanese overran the island, and forced the Commonwealth surrender. Though the politicians surrendered, many of the Commonwealth soldiers went to ground and fled to the hills, to continue to fight against the occupiers. However, unlike the Germans, the Japanese were not about to tolerate any dissent.
When one of Mantama’s fellow monks went to the Japanese authorities in protest over the seizure of rice from farmers without compensation, the Japanese guards ran him through with bayonets. Monks that tried to block traffic with their bodies were simply ran over. Another, refusing to bow to ‘savages’ was beaten to death by a Japanese patrol. It was these events that forced other monks to realize they would have to fight back with force.
Knowing he could not stop the violence, Mantama endeavored to control and direct the violence. His strategies in luring Japanese patrols into traps and minimizing Dutch deaths, improved his own standing within the resistance. By 1943, Mantama was effectively the head of the Dutch Resistance on Formosa. With each ambush, the Japanese were forced to increase size of patrols, until entire platoons were patrolling the streets of Taipei and New Antwerp.
Killing of Japanese soldiers did not go without reprisal. The Japanese resorted to random executions, adding that to policies of forced labor, reeducation, so-called comfort girls and genocide. Each murder in the sake of retaliation weighed heavily on Mantama. Perhaps it was his consciousness, but Mantama never made a decision lightly. He would prefer to have no killings at all. His reluctance brought much criticism against him by the more radical resistance cells. They wondered why should they not strike at the enemy. Nobody asked the Japanese to come to Formosa, they just forced their way in, and it was the resistance’s job to drive them out.
It was not until the dawn of 1945, when a Commonwealth-American joint invasion loomed over the horizon did Mantama unleash the resistance upon the Japanese. As soon as bombs fell and smoke cleared, the resistance slipped into damaged barracks to slit the throats of any surviving Japanese. Nor was it until Commonwealth soldiers set foot on Formosa did the resistance wheel out artillery and a few tanks hidden away in the hills. If not for Mantama’s temperance, various resistance cells might have piddled away resources until they had nothing to face the occupiers on the day of liberation.
Liberation
In October of 1944, the second stage of War Plan Tulip unfolded as the Commonwealth landed an invasion force almost the same size as the Normandy operation in Zeeland, north of Middleberg. Middleberg was not the first choice of cities to be liberated, but Queen Juliana insisted the invasion plans be changed. It was the port she left her homeland years before, and she wished it to be the first city to be free, and the port of her re-entry.
After months of fighting in France, and the liberation of Paris, Allied and Entente armies were still short of the borders with Artois and Flanders. Fuhrer Germany managed to dig in a static line of defense, similar to the trenches seen during the Great War. The prospect of fighting another prolonged war of attrition gave the allies dread. However, with the Commonwealth now in full control of the North Sea and all seaborne routes into Europe, trenches would not stay static for long.
Germany did not anticipate a second invasion of northern Europe. By the middle of November, Zeeland was all but liberated, and Commonwealth forces were now on both sides of the mouth of the Rhine. Any hope of keeping the Dutch, or any other ally, on the far side of the river. Germans began to retreat from their positions in France and consolidate further inland. Bridges across the Rhine soon became the heaviest fortified positions in all of Europe.
Fuhrer Germany managed to hold this line until April of 1945, when the Commonwealth provided a breakout along the Rhine. The Hague was cleared of occupational forces on May 7, 1945, with Delft liberated one day later. Whilst be forced from Amsterdam, the Germans attempted to breach levies and dikes all along the Holland coast. Only two breaches occurred, and those were patched within a week. The Queen condemned the actions of the Fuhrer German government, but as she and the world would soon learn, these were far from the most heinous crimes of the Fuhrer regime,
Along the Eastern Front, Swedish soldiers liberated the first of the internment camps in eastern Europe in February of 1945. These were not typical prisoner camps, for neither enemy soldier or criminal were in these camps. What the Swedes found were tens of thousands of emaciated people crammed in filthy bunkhouses. Worse yet, incinerated were discovered with the remnants of many enemies of the Fuhrer state. This was one of the camps of the Fuhrer German’s ‘final solution to the Slavic question’.
It was not until March of 1946 that the Fuhrer Germans were fully beaten in the west. An army under the command of Field Marshall von Manstein, numbering some three hundred thousand, surrendered to the Kaiser’s Field Marshall Rommel along the banks of the Wesser. For all intent purpose, Germany west of the Elbe was liberate and back under the Kaiser’s rule. On April 20, 1946, Cossacks of Sweden stormed the Reichstag in Berlin, and rose the Swedish flag over the last bastion of National Socialism.
It is said that when the Kaiser returned to his palace in Berlin, and saw the city in ruins, he fell to his knees and wept. For all the devastation in Europe, one can not forget that at the core of World War II was a German civil war. For years, German fought fellow German, all of them subjects of the Kaiser. So many of his people died in the conflict, and so much stress ate away at the Kaiser’s health, that he died just over a year after the war’s end.

The Kiat
April 4th, 2010, 01:10 PM
X) Decolonization
(1946-21st century)
Reconstruction
The rebuilding of Europe began with a restructuring of Central Europe. Though the Kaiser was not responsible for the Fuhrer’s act, Germany was made to pay anyway. Germany lost the provinces of Denmark and Austria, both granted independence as result of peace treaty. Denmark adopted a republican government, while Austria, to the shock of many, reinstated the Habsburg monarchy in a new Kingdom of Austria.

The Balkan Union was restored to its borders and government, but after years of brutal occupation that involved cultural and ethnic extermination, coupled with nationalistic puppet-states, made the restored Balkan Union a short affair. By 1948, the Balkan Union dissolved, and forty years of Balkan Wars followed. Between 1948 and 1989, borders changed, nations were destroyed and reborn, and the Habsburgs attempted to rebuild their long lost empire, with little success.
To the United Provinces, the years following the war were spent attempting to recover the looted treasures of the world’s premier bank. Through transactions, most of the gold ended up in banks in Switzerland, the financial rival of the Dutch. After years of negotiating, bargaining, and the Commonwealth threatening to invade Switzerland to take back its gold, much of the looted treasure was returned to Amsterdam. Rebuilding the United Provinces’ economy took much longer than the negotiations. Fortunately, other Commonwealth states were able to aid in reconstruction of the mother country. For other European powers who leaned upon their colonies, reconstruction lead to decolonization.
For Japan, which surrendered to the United States after the use of atomic bombs (which the Commonwealth did not build its first atomic bomb until 1948) and threatened invasion by Commonwealth armies. The question as to how to deal with Japan came down to the two powers that bore the brunt of combat, the United States and Dutch Commonwealth of Nations. The Dutch, naturally wished to install its own government in Japan, with Hirohito deposed and Juliana proclaimed Empress of Japan. The United States went more for a liberal constitution and denunciation of the Emperor’s divinity.
The fact that the war in Europe still raged in September of 1945 ultimately lead to the Americans having their way. The Commonwealth’s resources were soon directed back to Europe as soon as Java and the colonies were free of Japanese occupation. The Commonwealth would deal with its own problems before dealing with other’s. However, rebuilding Japan’s destroyed infrastructure came from loans from abroad. The VOC managed to monopolize the importation of raw materials to Japan until the 1960s.
The VOC experienced an unparallel expansion in operations during the postwar years, namely because it was one of the few transport companies to survive the war in one piece. Its usage of armed transports and private navy assisted in its survival, were its unarmed competitors were either destroyed, nationalized for the duration at great loss or sold for scrap. With liberty ships now flooding the market, many business son faced a drop off in prices and new shipping ventures started up. The smaller ones could not handle the drop in revenue, but the VOC, with multiple revenues, took the postwar years in stride.
However, there was not a recession as there was in the wake of the Great War. World War II was a total war between nations. The full industrial capacity of many nations was converted to the war effort with little to no consumer goods being produced. No luxuries were produced, but full employment generated much income for households, and the soldiers that did not gamble or drink away their salaries had six years worth of income saved up and ready to spend. The Brazilian economy, barely damaged by the war boomed the most, but surprisingly, the American economy exploded, even after reabsorbing devastated states during the Full Restoration of the Union.
The United Nations
When a body of Allies and Entente members met in San Francisco in April of 1942, little did they know they would be creating an international body that would not only resolve conflict, but create much tension in nation-states over national sovereignty. Nominally the Commonwealth would confront foreign affairs on a unified basis. However, the Commonwealth Assembly agreed that they should enter the United Nations as separate entities. It was not a dissolution of the Commonwealth, but in the U.N. each member gets one vote. If the Commonwealth entered as a single member, they would received only one vote, as opposed to eleven in 1942. In that same year, the Commonwealth accounted for nearly half the members of this new United Nations.
The Queen endorsed the idea, hoping the U.N. would offer the world a place for nations to resolve differences without resorting to destroying each other. If World War II was any indication, another world war would likely destroy human civilization. Better to mediate with words than atom bombs. Unlike the League of Nations, the U.N. Charter allowed for resolutions to be enforced by a multi-national task force.
The first postwar challenge for this new international assembly was rebuilding of a shattered world. Though the Bank of Amsterdam was reeling after the war, the Bank of Colombo was still enriched with gold. Ceylon lead an effort, with the other surviving economies, such as the United States and Brazil, to organize a ‘world bank’ to assist bankrupt and ruined countries to rebuild. Naturally, these donor states expected the loans to be paid in full, with a modest interest.
The United Nations also established a war crimes tribunal for Fuhrer Germany, Spain and, especially, Japan. In a way, this established a double-standard, and the only ‘criminals’ to be charged were those who lost the war.1 The Tribunal attempted to try various members of the Confederate Bund, particularly concerning renewed slavery, but the United States declined. As far as they were concerned it was an American affair and Americans would deal with it. In the end, most of the surviving Bund elite were hung following the Richmond Trials.
The Kingdom of Formosa, States of Hainan and Indonesia
In 1947, after their dedication to the Commonwealth during World War II, Formosa, Hainan and the islands of Indonesia were to be granted status of realm within the empire. The islands of Indonesia opted to be admitted as a single member, and a parliamentary republic. They would have no monarch, but would recognize the head of the Commonwealth as their royal sovereign. The same status as parliamentary republic was bestowed to Hainan.
Formosa, on the other hand, decided to accept Juliana as their Queen. On July 13, 1947, the Kingdom of Formosa was declared. Formosa, despite the devastation caused by months of attempting to liberate Japan, was the most industrialized nation in East Asia, after Japan’s industry was all but destroyed from above. Formosa also proved to be the most factional, politically speaking, of the Commonwealth members. Though political parties were against the Commonwealth Charter, that did not stop fraternities and voting blocks from forming.
Though the government in Taipei could agree on little, the choice for first Prime Minister was almost unanimous, that would be a monk by the name of Mantama. Universally seen as the liberator of Formosa, Mantama was the most popular Prime Minister in the history of the Commonwealth. When he stepped down after one term, the people nearly rioted. When he died, in August of 1969, Formosa came to a stop and mourned for a week.
Formosa benefitted much from the reconstruction of Japan. In 1946, Japan had no functioning steel mills or foundries. All the iron and steel going into Japan came from Formosa. Some Formosans refused to trade with the Japanese, even with the significant profits they could gain via the World Bank. Many who suffered under Japanese occupation wished the Japanese to suffer. Mantama convinced many factory and smelter owners to take the World Bank up on the offer. The way he phrased it, rebuilding Japan would strengthen Formosa’s depressed economy, and by buying Formosan steel and machinery, Japan was in a way paying reparations they would otherwise never pay.
In the wake of the war in East Asia, many of the rival warlords and states of China simply no longer existed. The two largest forces competing for ‘the throne’ were those of Mao and Chaing. The Chinese Nationalists under the command of Chaing faced the brunt of the Japanese onslaught, and likely would have ruled China if not for the Japanese invasion. But Chaing was weakened by seven years of war with Japan. Though the Communists under Mao did fight side-by-side with their Nationalist brothers, the alliance ended as soon as Japan surrendered. After four years of fierce fighting, Mao succeeded and driving Chaing into exile, and in 1949, the ‘People’s Dynasty’ was established, as Queen Juliana called it. Many of the Nationalists attempted to flee to Formosa, but the Formosans refused to absorb nearly a million refugees, and unwanted immigrants. The Nationalists were hence dispersed across the Pacific, from the Philippines, all the way to Canada and Grand Columbia. As a result of restoring the Union, the United States closed its borders to all immigration, until it could get its own house back in order.
By rebuilding Japan, and even dealing with China after the communist take-over, Formosa’s own economy skyrocketed, overtaking many European states in the 1960s. It was not until Japan was rebuilt and China beginning its own industrialization during the 1980s did Formosa slip to third place in Asia and the Pacific. It battled Japan in production of microprocessors into the 1990s, and today is still tied with Japan in production of the world’s premier electronics.
France
France’s colonial empire effectively ended the moment Japan seized Indochina and Spain Algeria. France was no longer able to defend its colonies, and more importantly its inhabitants. For decades, tensions were mounting throughout its colonies, and by leaning heavily on the colonies for its own reconstruction, France pushed its colonies over the edge. By 1950, the colonies began to view themselves no longer as French, but as exploited.
The first to break away was French Indochina. Lead by Ho Chi Minh, the Indochinese rebellion lasted from 1945 to 1954. In a way, it was simply an extension of the war against Japan. Ho lead the resistance against Japan, but when France came in to reassert itself, it simply swept the Viet Minh aside. During the war years, Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian nationalism rose in response for Japan’s repression.
Before France’s defeat at Dien Bien Phu, Algerians rose up against their former colonial masters. Unlike Indochina, whose nationalities were merely fighting for independence, Algeria faced a wave of religious extremism that included bombs of hotels, buses and subways in Metropolitan France. France’s reaction to Algeria was far harsher than in Indochina. Algerian rebels attempting to surrender were shot on sight, for fear of extremists wearing explosive jackets lined with metal splinters. More than one ‘rebel’ trying to surrender blew himself up while ‘surrendering’ to French soldiers. Many Algerians within the Foreign Legion were expelled from the Legion and from France.
Rebellion in Mexico was far more civil than in Algeria. When France withdrew from Algeria, over a hundred thousand French settlers and their allies left with them, many of these went to French enclaves in Mexico, despite the rebellion. The French colonized along the Gulf Coast and Pacific Coasts of Mexico, leaving the interior to the locals. However, just as in Algeria and Indochina, France attempted to ‘civilize’, that is impose their laws and customs, the natives. However, unlike the other colonies, France experienced a moderate success in Mexico, where French is now spoken as often as Spanish.
However, France stripped Mexico of much of its natural wealth, especially after oil was discovered in the lands surrounding the Gulf of Mexico. A sharp disparity between the haves and have-nots lead to revolution in the mid 1950s, after nearly ninety years of French rule. With the fall of the Balkan Union, international socialism moved its headquarters to China, and it was the Chinese smuggling arms to Marxists rebels in Mexico. Like with Vietnam, when Mexico freed itself from French rule, it soon fell to communism, the same fate of many former colonies.
Germany
When Mexico rose up against France, the long standing colony of Rio de la Plata rose up against Germany. In order to rebuild the Empire, the Kaiser ordered many of the colonies in Africa and South America to contribute to reconstruction. Much of German Central Africa was undeveloped with minimal infrastructure, meaning that even in the Twenty-first Century, the successor states have beneath their soil a deep reserve of mineral wealth.
Rio de la Plata, however, was nearly as developed as Germany itself. During reconstruction, nearly one hundred percent of mineral output and manufactured goods were shipped to Germany, leaving little to nothing left for the colonists. Not only that, but taxes were razed by the colonial government as were subsidies to the fatherland. Unlike the Eleven Colonies, Rio de la Plata was a case of Taxation In Spite of Representation. When recession hit the colony, the German colonists had enough.
On the nights of September 17 and 18 of 1959, the colonial government, comprised of mostly politicians hand picked by the government in Berlin, was overthrown and the Republic of the River Plate was declared. What followed was six years of war between Germans, much to the heartache of Kaiser Frederick Wilhelm. This colonial civil war, were one third of the population was for independence, one third against and one third indifferent, tore apart the River Plate almost as effectively as World War II did Germany itself. In fact, it was that same bloody war that allowed for the Republic’s independence. Germany simply could not afford to hold them under their thumb, while dealing with rebellions in Africa. By the year 2000, Germany’s only colonial possessions were the Marshall Islands, Carolina Islands and Kaiserwilhelmland.
The British Commonwealth
The British Commonwealth of Nations, a pale impersonation of the Dutch Commonwealth, only worked as far as the citizens were Britanified. Canada, Australia and Patagonia, along with various islands stayed within Britain’s association of states, unlike Britain’s former African colonies and Burma. The Burmese were the first to break away, starting their war in 1947. For over a decade, Burmese waged a guerilla war against the British, often crossing the Indian border to launch their attacks.
Though the Commonwealth Assembly tried to work out a deal between Burmese and British, India’s own national guard did take part in the war, mostly shooting any rebels who crossed the border. On March 5, 1951, several villages on the Indian side of the border were raided by Burmese rebels, prompting the Indian Staaten-General to threaten invasion of Burma. They further reiterated that land the Dutch took, they seldom gave back.
The use of the name Dutch by India was obviously an attempt to get the Commonwealth on their side. India has always been the odd man out in the Dutch Commonwealth. Forced into the United Provinces’ colonial empire, language and customs and they even had their own constitution forced upon them. Abyssinia was also conquered, but unlike India, it created its own government, as opposed to the Staaten-General back in the Hague.
The Commonwealth did keep up the pressure on Britain to resolve the Burma Crisis, while at the same time, Queen Juliana blessed the Indian Staaten-General’s plan for a limited invasion of Burma, in order to root out rebels and bandits along the border. In 1952, the British forced many of the rebels into the very path of Indian invasion, hoping to crush the rebellion. For the next two years, the Burmese Liberation Front fell silent.
When violence flared up again in 1955, the United Nations stepped in to mediate between rebels and Britainers. In 1956, a U.N. peacekeeping force, including thousands of Indian soldiers, occupied the country and began disarming rebels and taking over functions of the British. There was sporadic violence into 1957, but for the most part, the peacekeepers did just that; kept the peace until a nation-wide referendum at the end of the year. The Burmese voted overwhelmingly for independence, and by 1958 the Republic of Burma was established, with the U.N. staying until 1960 to insure a smooth transition in government.
The British Empire continued to fade during the 1960s, with the loss of most of their African colonies, the last, Kenya, achieving Independence in 1971. Rebellion and revolution in Central Africa created a crisis of refugees for Abyssinia and Angola. The Commonwealth closed the borders, and after the events in Burma, patrolled it vigilantly. For the most part, the Dutch stayed out of British and African affairs. The only exception being in Egypt, which won its freedom in 1952. Because Dutch interests still owned part of the Suez Canal, the Commonwealth was forced to strike a deal with the new government in Egypt. Simply put, as long as traffic was not impeded through the Suez, then the Commonwealth had no reason to meddle in Egyptian affairs. Though the Dutch Empire was now a Commonwealth of Nations, the Dutch were still a mercantile people whose power was based on trade and commerce.
Dutch Africa
With revolution and rebellion racing across other European possession during the 1950s and 60s, Queen Juliana confronted the Staaten-General with the fact that the United Provinces still had two colonies in Africa; Angola and Mozambique. With other Africans rebelling against their masters, it was foolish to believe Dutch Southern Africa would not join them. The United Provinces had never lost a colony to violent means, and Juliana was not about to be the first monarch to loose one.
Angola and Mozambique were some of the first possessions of the Netherlands, but some of the last to be colonized. By 1950, only seventy years had passed before Netherlanders began to homestead in these colonies. Over the centuries before colonization, the Dutch made sure tribes allied to them came out on top during brutal tribal wars. Many of these tribes benefitted to Dutch trade after slavery was abolished. Since the Dutch often refused to speak any other language, the natives were forced to learn Dutch in order to trade. Between 1710 and 1880, Dutch merchants slowly but steadily assimilated the natives into Dutch culture.
Despite their Dutchification, both Angola and Mozambique had little in the way of self-government in 1950. As with India, the Staaten-General of the United Provinces took it upon itself to design and appoint a government to both colonies. Angolans embraced the new government, but were hostile to the appointees. What was the point in self-determination, if one self could not determine who would be in office? All were assured this was a temporary measure, and elections would be held in 1955.
True to their word, elections were held in both Angola and Mozambique in 1955. Towns and provinces of the lightly inhabited colonies went to the polls to chose their representatives in the new Staaten-Generals in Mauricistadt and Sofala. Not only could they decide who would speak for them, they also voted in colony-wide referendums to determine the future of both colonies. Again, the Staaten-General of the United Provinces wrote constitutions for both colonies, granting them the status of realm within the empire, and establishing Angola and Mozambique as constitutional monarchies, with Juliana as their Queen..
The only other choices were status quo and full independence. Nobody wanted the status quo; the years after World War II were the ‘Years of Progress’ were the world marched ahead. Independence won thirty-three and forty percent respectively. However, there were no constitutions for these republics, and news of violence in decolonized states overpowered any resentment the republicans who lost the election might have felt. While colonies, the people were both prosperous and happy. The only difference in being kingdoms were that both states would now control their own internal affairs. With the independence of Angola and Mozambique, the United Provinces’ only remaining colony was the frozen wasteland of Greenland.
The Balkan Wars
Though all the World Powers had a part in the Balkan Wars, siding with one state or another, the Dutch kept their participation limited to keeping trade open between the outside world and the oil well of Armenia and Kurdistan. When the Balkans exploded into warfare, the heirs of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, saw an opportunity to rebuild its own empire. Their invasion of Greece, though at first successful, was turned back with assistance of the VOC.
VOC Oil had large shares in the oil trade across the Black Sea, both in extracting and transporting the fuel of industrialized civilization. The VOC sold several of its World War II vintage destroyers and frigates to Greece, and was further contracted to train the fledgling Greek Navy. However, the Board of Shareholders decided that repelling Turkey was not enough. In order to secure the Bosporus, they decided it best for Greece to control both banks of the strait.
By 1955, the Ottoman’s humiliation was complete. Greece controlled the Asian side of the Bosporus extending several kilometers inland. With such a defeat, Turkey turned inward and like the Balkans, was wrapped up in civil war. Unlike the Balkans, Turkey experienced a total collapse, and it still considered a failed state to this date. Though not supported by the VOC, Greece used much of the talent and equipment purchased from the company to wage war against its northern neighbors, ending with the annexation of Macedonia.
Socialism
During the 1960s, the World Powers experienced revolutions of their own, albeit far more peaceful than their colonies. For the Dutch people, a nominally mercantile society, socialism was revolutionary. Unlike many capitalistic countries, the United Provinces’ companies thought of their nation before their profits. Never had a company, with the possible consideration of the South Atlantic Company, ever go against national interest, and not just because the Staaten-General could revoke their license or monopoly.
By 1963, the Dutch Worker’s Party won several seats in the House of Electorates. The Worker’s Party is believed to have had its origins in the form of Balkans fleeing the chaos that was 1950s southeastern Europe. Their first act was to introduce several bills aimed at protecting the worker. Protect them from what? The rest of the Staaten-General asked that very question. Workers in the United Provinces were far from exploited, and factories would just as soon employ honest and loyal Netherlanders for three times what cheap foreign labor might go for.
Among the proposals, the socialists wanted a mandatory minimum wage, thirty hour work weeks so that four shifts could be enacted instead of three, two weeks of paid vacation a year, and allow unrestricted unionization. Instead of gaining worker’s support, many Netherlanders were suspicious about the proposals. Why take thirty hours when they now receive forty hours? That would involve a reduce in pay. The socialists claimed it was to increase employment, but the United Provinces had next to no unemployment. With strict tariffs on imports, the Dutch people bought mostly Dutch products, and with Germany still rebuilding itself, many of the products went across the border.
If anything, these changes would entice Germans to cross the border and take jobs from Netherlanders. Some enterprising Netherlanders, when this law was passed, simply took two shifts a week, and actually reduced the number of employees required. As for minimum wage, the wage proposed and passed was far less than the average wage of the Netherlander. The idea of a minimum wage was more of an ideology for International Socialism Inc. Every other country had them, so why should the United Provinces be exempt.
The most popular of the laws was that of paid vacation. A majority of employers did not offer paid vacation, though workers could take leave with sufficient notice. To now have two weeks of relaxation without worrying about missed paychecks, that was a boon. It was also the only Worker’s Law to not be repealed in the 1980s. As for labor unions, those existed in the United Provinces since the turmoil of industrialization in the mid-Nineteenth Century. They were a bane in the existence of factory and mill owners, but they also kept them honest, and the unions took credit for making the United Provinces the country with the highest standard of living in Europe (perhaps not without too much exaggeration).
Several other laws were proposed, but rejected immediately. These included universal health care, unemployment insurance, and an idea borrowed from Britain and Canada; social security. It was a kind of government-ran retirement plan. In order to afford such programs, the United Provinces would have to do something it rarely does; raise taxes. Most of the nation’s income comes from tariffs and duties, with just the minimum of taxation upon the people. Universal health care was voted along party lines, socialists for it and everyone else against. The idea of government as helping hand will always be foreign in the very Provincial minded Provinces. The Dutch people have long standing traditions of self-reliance. After all, a people who required a helping hand could never have colonized the far corners of the globe.
VOC Stars
Out of World War II came many new technologies; radar, jet engines, nuclear weapons and above all, rocketry. Rocket scientists existed in the United States and Sweden as early as 1920. The American rocket scientist Robert Goddard developed function liquid fueled rockets. In Fuhrer Germany, rocket science was put to the forefront in the last three years of the war. London faced the brunt of ballistic missile attacks. Though primitive, the V-2 was the grandfather of all modern rocketry.
During the 1950s, rocketry advanced to new levels. Soon the potential for reaching Earth orbit came to the attention of not only Staaten-Generals across the Commonwealth, but the VOC. Much of the dream of space flight was that of exploration, but the VOC saw another potential. Radio transmissions on Earth were limited by climatic conditions and geological features. However, with satellites in orbit relaying signals, VOC Commonwealth (the telecommunication branch) could soon reach anywhere and everywhere on Earth.
The VOC was the largest company to develop rockets, but they were constrained by tight budgets were nation-states were not. On August 2, 1957, the first artificial satellite was launched, not by the VOC, not even by the Dutch, but by Sweden. Sweden preempted the German attempt by several weeks. When Germany tried to rush its launch, a malfunction caused the rocket to explode on its launch pad, damaging most of the Peenemunde launch site.
The first Dutch satellite was not launched until 1959, from a launch site along the equatorial coast of Brazil, near Cayenne. It was not until 1967 that VOC Stars had its first telecommunication constellation orbiting Earth. Later, more advanced communication satellites were launched into geosynchronous orbit during the 1980s, allowing the VOC to take a thirty-one percent share of the telecommunication industry, by far the largest in the world.
By the 1990s, the VOC and its departments were netting six hundred billion guilders. The American magazine ‘Time’ declared in 1996, that the VOC was the world’s first trillion dollar corporation. Not bad for a company that started out as nothing more than a spice venture in the start of the Seventeenth Century. The Commonwealth itself had an impressive space program, though not as profitable as the VOC’s.
The United Provinces were the second nation to put a man into orbit, right behind Sweden. The Americans were playing catch up, only having sub-orbital flights at this time. Their astronaut, Alan Shepard, beat both Sweden’s Yuri Gargarin and the Provinces’ Henri Winkleman to the edge of the atmosphere, but American’s rocket of 1961 lacked the power to reach orbit. However, this did not stop American president John Kennedy from challenging the rest of the world, after Sweden’s orbital flight, to put a man on the moon and return him to Earth by the end of the decade. The phrase ‘end of this decade’ it a bit ambiguous, since mathematically, the decade did not end until December 31, 1970.
As it turned out, this safety net was not required. On July 21, 1969, the United States beat Sweden, the Commonwealth and France to the moon, when astronaut James Lovell became the first man to walk on the moon. However, where America’s interest in Luna waned, the Dutch interest was never stronger. In 1983, the VOC established Fort Recife on the moon, a research station, primarily dedicated to leaning the value of lunar minerals.
Many of today’s modern electronic devices can be dated back to the space race. In 1957, the typical computer was the size of a house and held laughable amounts of memory. By 1967, the computer was now the size of a box, but with still limited memory. It was all thanks to the development of the microprocessor. Though Formosa produces the bulk of the Commonwealth’s components, much of the research of electronics, and physics takes place at the Indian Institute of Technology. What was once the most backwards member of the Commonwealth, at the dawn of the Twenty-first Century, is it leading developer of cosmic contraptions.
Queen Beatrix
Born on January 31, 1938, Beatrix grew up in partial exile. Her first memories of Delft were not until the Royal Family returned home following the success of War Plan Tulip. She is unique among Dutch monarchs for several reasons. The first being that she was the first Princess (or Prince) of Oranje to attend public universities, in both The Hague and Recife. She was also the first to have a Masters Degree, hers in international law. An appropriate field of study for one who would eventually become the head of the Dutch Commonwealth of Nations.
During her college days, Beatrix studied abroad, in Paris, Baltimore, Arborea and even spending one quarter studying in the American city of Atlanta. It was there during the days of the Kennedy administration that she came face to face to a world that puts race above nation. She was blasted by critics in America for her quote ‘race is skin deep, but the nation is in the heart.’ The Dutch people have always considered themselves Dutch first.
Her notions of a color-blind society struck hard many of the civil rights leaders in the American south. During the 1960s, those who were enslaved during the Confederate Bund’s reign faced an uphill struggle against the white southern society. Despite national laws against discrimination, those laws were barely enforced in the southern states until the 1970s. Beatrix left Atlanta wondering if Brazil or the Boer Republics could have ended up this way had her predecessors governed differently.
Beatrix was crowned on April 30, 1980, not after her mother died, but rather after Juliana abdicated. It was not the first time a Dutch monarch voluntarily relinquished the throne, but Juliana did not do so in disgrace. After more than forty years as Queen and Empress, Juliana simply decided it was time to retire. At forty-two years of age, and eighteen years of service within Dutch government, Beatrix was crowned the Queen of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, Empress of Brazil, Lady Protector of Kapenstaaten, Transvaal, New Oranje, Natalia and Johannestaaten, Queen of Ceylon, Empress of India, Queen of Abyssinia, Princess of Java, Royal Sovereign of Indonesia and of Hainan, Queen of Formosa, and of both Angola and Mozambique.
The Information Revolution
During the 1980s, developments in the United States, Sweden, Britain and the Commonwealth revealed a new network of information, the internet. Its ancestor was created in the United States, as an information network for the War Department. The technology was classified, but not top secret. Nor was it terribly complicated, for several other nations introduced their own defense networks.
The internet does more than bring people closer and make Earth a smaller place, it also revolutionized the way giant banks do business. No more do shipments of gold and silver have to sail across seas and ride the rails. In an instant, electronic impulses deliver credit to any bank in the world. Oddly enough, the Bank of Amsterdam was one of the last banks to go electronic. Age old traditions of hard currency are too deeply imbedded into the bank’s psyche.
Again, workers face a crisis as computers and robotics streamline production and increase office efficiency. Today there was concerns about robots overrunning the world, or worse yet, unionizing. Two hundred year prior, workers voiced the same concerns over machinery, and to some extent it was true in the beginning. But as history can prove, the Dutch people will adapt and thrive with the changing world.
One new technology, magnetic levitation, has only recently been introduced to the Counties of Holland and Zeeland. A Middleberg-Amsterdam line, with a maglev car capable of three hundred kilometers an hour, is the first in what will be many new high-speed commuter routes across the United Provinces and all of Europe. Already similar lines are up in Sweden, Germany, France and China, with a Philadelphia-New Amsterdam line in the United States slated to be operation by 2010.
The Changing World
However, there is a far greater concern than cybernetic revolt, and that is of dwindling fuel. In th first decade of the Twenty-first Century, the world has hit what is known as peak oil production. There are alternatives to petroleum based fuels, but as with the shipping companies in face of the railroad, many petro companies are fighting against fuel-cell technology. It will put them out of business they claim. Perhaps, but so will the depletion of oil. More over, fuel cells will not alter the climate in the same way as the burning of fossil fuels.
As a nation at and below sea level, the United Provinces are deeply concerned about climate change and inevitable sea rises. Even if all fossil fuel consumption were cut today, the ocean will still rise by a meter. Billions of guilders are going into improving, modernizing and even expanding the system of dikes and levies that keep the Provinces relatively dry. The VOC, as always, is not only looking to the future of its profits, but the benefit of its country. Several model fuel-cell vehicles are already in test markets across the Provinces.
Gasoline is but a minor irritant compared to two centuries of burning coal. Whereas oil will be gone by the 2050s, there is still enough coal to burn for centuries. Many European nations have the technology to offset coal, with nuclear, hydroelectric and even wind. The biggest producer of coal-borne carbon dioxide is the still industrializing China. As a nation of over a billion, the energy demands are astronomical. If China is unable to find a solution other than coal, then the United Provinces, and the Dutch Commonwealth, may have no option but to destroy the hundreds of coal-fired plants across China. As a fellow nuclear power, it is unlikely China will sit by and let their power plants be destroyed.
Physicists in Formosa and China are operation an experimental nuclear fusion reactor. By fusing hydrogen into helium, this new source of power produces no pollutants, and harnesses a fuel that is nearly inexhaustible in the universe. By taming the power in the heart of the sun, the Commonwealth, and perhaps all of humanity. Optimism aside, a commercial fusion reactor is still a decade away, but the prototypes produce far more power than they consume.
Perhaps with these new technologies, the Dutch people can continue their tradition of trading and colonizing, this time beyond the boundaries of Earth’s atmosphere and into a limitless future.

The Kiat
April 5th, 2010, 11:20 PM
XI) Union
(1775-1861)
Colonial Rebellion
Following the end of the Seven Years War, and temporary expulsion of France from North America, tensions began to rise between the United Kingdom and her American colonies. To London, it seemed only logical that the colonies help pay for the war that protected them. However, Americans are funny when it comes to taxation; they simply do not like it. During the 1760s, and early 1770s, various taxes were introduced to help offset the cost of waging war in the New World. Not only did London attempt to tax her colonies, but struggled to control who they could trade with. In 1770, the cities of Boston and Philadelphia were doing as much trade with the Dutch in New Amsterdam as they were with London. This trade impacted the profit of British merchants. Though it was an important market for the United Provinces, the American colonies were hardly vital.
The American justification for refusing to pay taxes was the famed quotation ‘no taxation without representation’.1 London gradually reduced and repealed most taxes, with the exception of the tax on tea. In eventual response to this final tax, several patriots dressed as Mohawks, likely lead by Samuel Adams, boarded ships of the British East India Company on December 16, 1773, and proceeded to dump ten thousand pounds worth of tea into Boston Harbor. In response, London passed a series of laws now known as the Intolerable Acts, which effectively disbanded Massachusetts’s government and closed the harbor of Boston until the British were compensated for the loss of tea.
By 1775, tensions in New England grew to the point were the British Army deployed contingent in Boston and the surrounding countryside. On April 18, 1775, British general Thomas Gage sent seven hundred soldiers further inland to seize militia stores in Concord. Before the British were to depart Boston, patriots within the city managed to get word out, warning the militia of the regulars’ advance. The first shots of the Revolution were fired in Lexington, on the following day. It is unknown who fired the first shot, but is largely believed to have been a militiaman, since the British Regular Army held far more discipline.2
The militia retreated before regular fire, but bough militia in Concord enough time to organize. The Regulars were stopped on the North Bridge over the Concord river, and after a short and fierce fight, were forced back, and eventually returned to Boston. This victory gave the Americans a false sense that the war could be resolved by Christmas, a common enough mistake throughout the history of the world. More over, these two small engagements kicked off the Revolution and was in effect the dawning of United States history.3
The Continental Army
Before the Second Continental Congress, the eleven colonies were forced to raise their own militias and generally fend for themselves. With continued encroachment on liberties in Massachusetts, other colonies believed that it was only a matter of time before the fate befell them. It was believed that a united front against the Mother Country could only improve their odds. In order to build a common defense, the Continental Congress established the Continental Army on June 14, 1775. To command this new army, Congress appointed a Virginian plantation owner, perhaps to bring the southern colonies into the cause, George Washington. At the time, the choice was somewhat of a dubious one. Washington fought two battles during the Seven Years War, and was victorious in neither. With hindsight, it is easy to see that Washington was the perfect choice, not only because he was a leader of men, but because when he had power, he let it go and returned home. Few in human history were strong enough to resist the lure of power.
Washington was appalled after his first tour of the ‘army’ by what he saw, and more over, by what he did not see. The Continental Army was camped out around Boston, as if to lay siege. However, it had no artillery to bombard Regular positions. The closest stockpile of cannon were located at the British fortress of Ticonderoga, within the Iroquois country. Washington dispatched Connecticut Brigadier General, Benedict Arnold, and a small contingent to attempt to capture these guns.
Arnold was met part way by one Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys. When Ticonderoga fell without firing a shot, it was Allen who stole the glory. In fact, the hardest fighting was between Arnold and Allen, as to which one of them was really in command. Benedict Arnold was a fighting general, a brilliant tactician, and as undiplomatic as possible. His habit of stepping on the toes of his fellow generals and various politicians would dog him for the rest of his life.
After bringing the guns back to Boston, Gage was amazed to wake up and see numerous cannon aimed at his garrison. Upon the realization that these rebels were at a total advantage, Gage had little choice but to evacuate the several thousand Regulars along with numerous loyalist families to British strongholds in Nova Scotia. It is not known whether or not Gage ever discovered that though Washington had the cannon, he lacked the powder to use them.
Invasion of Canada
Following the ‘victory’ at Boston, the Congress invited the French-Canadians to join them as the twelfth colony. The invitation dated back to 1774, but the Québécois responded to neither invitation. Though they were not pleased by British rule, that did not mean they were sympathetic to the patriot cause. For the most part, apathy reigned in Quebec. Congress authorized General Philip Schuyler to command an invasion of Canada and drive the British from the continent. General Arnold, who was passed over for the command, went to Boston to convince Washington to send him and a support force to aid in conquering Canada.
As it turned out, the initial invasion, and capture of Montreal was done under the command of Richard Montgomery. Schuyler dropped out of the invasion to confer with the Iroquois, to attempt to bring them over to the patriot cause. Though it did most of its trading through New Amsterdam, the Indian nation did have extensive commercial ties with the colonies, more so that with Britain herself, so they had little reason to join the British. However, the tribal leader decided, for the time being, this was a white man’s war, and opted for neutrality.
Montreal fell on November 13, with little resistance. Montgomery expended much of his resources laying siege to Fort St. John, between September and November of 1775, before it finally capitulated ten days before Montreal. Leaving a force to defend the new holdings in Montreal, Montgomery soon began his own march down river to join up with Arnold in an assault on Quebec. For his part, Arnold took the difficult road in reaching Canada. A march along the Kennebec River in Upper Massachusetts4, through unbroken wilderness. Though his army experienced many hardships on the march and was not in the best of fighting conditions upon arriving on the banks of the Saint Laurence, the assault on Quebec would still go forth.
On December 31, 1775, on the day before enlistments expired, Arnold and Montgomery launched a joint assault against Quebec. During his own assault, Montgomery was killed by grapeshot, and Arnold later wounded in the leg. The British General, Guy Carleton, pursued the retreating Continentals, breaking a make-do siege laid upon Quebec by reinforcements in the spring of 1776. The Continental Army retreated across Lake Champlain. During spring and summer of 1776, both sides were locked in an arms race, attempting to build a fleet, one to conquer, the other to defend. Arnold and Carleton would meet in combat again on the lake in the autumn of 1776.
Declaration of Independence
Debate raged in Congress since the capture of Boston and retreat from Canada into the summer of 1776. Some wished for reconciliation between colonies and Mother Country. Others wished for complete separation from Britain. Gradually, the faction favoring independence won out. By July 1. 1776, Congress assigned a committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. On this committee were the likes of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the Immortal Benjamin, were given the task of writing the declaration.5 At the time, the declaration was considered to be little more than a footnote in future histories, and was delegated to the junior member of the committee, Jefferson.
On July 3, the Congress voted to accept the declaration. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, ‘we must hang together or we will most assuredly hang separately’. It was not until the next day that the declaration was signed by all the colonies’ delegates. By signing this blatant act of sedition, each representative knew he was a wanted man. Many lost land and property as a result. Two even lost their lives. News of the Declaration of Independence spread across the colonies, reaching Boston just days before the British landings.6 On July 15, twenty thousand soldiers, including five thousand Hanoverian and Hessian mercenaries landed in Connecticut. Patriots road day and night, reaching Boston, warning Washington that he was at risk of being trapped with his back against the sea.
Washington’s army began its march westward, intercepting the British along the Connecticut River. Much to Washington’s horror, his own army left the battle prematurely. Rather than risk a total route, and destruction of the Continental Army, Washington was forced to organize a retreat, abandoning New England for the time being. It is one of the tragic ironies in American History, that one of Washington’s most brilliant plans was that of evacuating his army. Trapped against the Connecticut River, the British were in no hurry to dispatch the rebels. In fact, William Howe, General commanding the British forces, decided to let his own army get a good night’s rest before ending the rebellion. During the night, dozens of Americans volunteered to stay behind and keep the fires in camp burning, to fool the British, while Washington and his remaining army escaped across the Connecticut. By the time Howe realized what had happened, the Continental Army reached a safe distance.
Valcour Bay
Aside from Howe’s own invasion, a second invasion from Canada was in the works. This one would travel down Lake Champlain, then the Mauritius River. They would have to build their ships on the river, since the Dutch in New Amsterdam refused to allow the Royal (British) Navy access to the river. Two things stood in the way of the British plan to dominate the Mauritius; 1) lack of a fleet on Lake Champlain; 2) Fort Ticonderoga stood between them and the Mauritius Valley.
Arnold fell back to Ticonderoga after the disaster that was Quebec. Only the lack of a British fleet allowed his army to escape. Some general might retreat further, accepting the impossibility of their position, but not Arnold. Before the Revolution, he was a pharmacists and book seller in New Haven. After the Stamp Act, Arnold did what many traders did; became a smuggler. He had a great deal of experience in maritime affairs, much more so than any of his soldiers. During the spring and summer of 1776, Arnold oversaw the construction of a small fleet, little more than armed rafts by Dutch or British standards.
The Champlain arms race ended on October 11, 1776, off Valcour Island. Arnold chose this narrow spot on the lake to diminish British advantages. The battle itself was a complete loss to the Americans; the British virtually annihilated the small fleet. So bad was the damage to Arnold’s flagship, the Congress was ran aground and burned to deny it to the enemy. It was not a surrender, for Arnold left the flag flying even as he lead his army back to Ticonderoga. One might expect the British to gain an easy victory, but Carleton was a veteran of the Boston campaign, and knew the rebels were formidable. Being October, it was too late in the year to lay siege to the fortress, thus Carleton opted to make winter camp at the north end of the lake. His cautiousness and Arnold’s audacity saved the patriot cause in this greatest battle of that nobody has heard.
Crossing the Mauritius
Washington’s shrunken army camped on the opposite shore of the Mauritius, within Iroquois country during December of 1776. This was the Revolution’s bleakest hour. Come January, enlistments would expire and the demoralized Continental Army would disband itself. Supplies were short, pay was back and victory appeared a distance dream; the soldiers had little incentive to remain. Washington knew that he must score a victory or the Revolution would fizzle out before spring were to arrive. He saw his chance in a small Hessian garrison at White Plains.
On December 25, Washington lead his army in a daring crossing of the ice choked Mauritius, and an all-night march through the cold over many kilometers7. It was at dawn of the 26th that Washington initiated the attack against the German mercenaries. The Hessians, for their part, were so complacent, that they had yet to recover from their Christmas celebration. Some soldiers were hung over and all were taken by surprise when the Continental Army attacked. The battle was over before the Hessians could organize, and their commander died shortly after the garrison surrendered.
A second battle was fought further east, this against a garrison of Hanoverian soldiers camped near Deerfield. These soldiers were not as drunk, but the attack did catch them off guard. Again, the Germans were defeated. After the victory, Washington and his army retreated to a highly defensible position for Winter Quarters.8 These two small victories were enough to force the British back closer to Boston and New Haven for the rest of the winter. More over, it was a morale boost and convinced many soldiers to re-enlist. Because of Washington’s boldness, the British would have to wait until 1777 to crush the rebellion.
The Fall of Philadelphia
In the summer of 1777, the British had a grand plan to crush the rebellion. It also had two separate commands with little to no communication between the two. The grand plan was that one army, under William Howe, would march west from Boston, while another army under John Burgoyne would march south from Lake Champlain, and together they would sever New England from the rest of the colonies. The ancient plan of divide-and-conquer may even have trapped the bulk of the Continental Army between the two British armies and crush it.
However, that was not to be. During the 18th Century, the glory would come to the man who conquered the enemy capital. That was Philadelphia and a notable distance from New England. Without consulting with his counterpart in Canada, Howe boarded most of his army into transports and sailed down into the Chesapeake Bay. Forts Washington and Lee blocked the Susquehanna River south of Philadelphia, forcing the British to attack overland. The Continental Army faced the British repeatedly, attempting to slow down the British.
At Brandywine Creek, Washington attempted to make a stand, only to have the militia break and run. The Americans were driven back, and Philadelphia fell on September 23, 1777. Congress fled the city ahead of the British, setting up a temporary capital in York, Pennsylvania. When the rebel capital fell, patriots fled and loyalist cheered the entry of the redcoats. Though the capital’s loss was not a strategic blow to the Revolution, it would impact diplomatic efforts in the Hague and Paris, making it more difficult for foreign governments to recognize the United States.9
Howe attempted to pursue Washington further. The Americans stopped the British advance at Germantown. The battle itself was only a marginal victory for Washington, but it did signal an end to campaigning in Pennsylvania for 1777. Howe was in no great hurry to leave his own comfortable winter quarters in the occupied rebel capital. As for the Continental Army, they would spent their winter at Valley Forge, where one of America’s first German friends would help put the army in Continental Army. The Baron of Steuban not only drilled the Continental Army through the winter at Valley Forge, but later served as Washington’s own chief-of-staff.
Saratoga
While Howe was capturing Philadelphia, Burgoyne battled his way through rebels in the north. Ticonderoga fell without much of a fight, when the British hauled artillery up the aptly named Mount Defiant, forcing the rebels to surrender. After Lake Champlain was secured, the army began its slow march south through the Iroquois Confederacy. The Six Nations wished to retain their neutrality, but the incursion of thousand of British soldiers put a drain on the land. Though they had supply trains, British soldiers still foraged, taking both game and crops as they traveled. British commanders even went as far as to demand provisions from the Iroquois, in return for protecting the Indians from ‘colonial expansion’.
It is still not clear which specific incident precipitated violence, but what is known that some insult sparked an Iroquois war party to attack a British patrol. The British, in turn, retaliated, bringing the Six Nations of the Iroquois into the Revolution on the Patriot cause. Though the Indians were vastly outnumbered, they were aided by many patriot frontiersmen in obstructing and delaying the British advance. Toppling trees and collapsed bridges slowed Burgoyne’s advance to only a couple of miles a day. This allowed the Continental Army enough time to meet the British advance.
Congressional favorite, Horatio Gates, was appointed commander of the Northern Department of the Continental Army, over the head of Arnold, who had fought the British in the north for two years. Arnold was put under the command of Gates, whom he considered inept, despite Gates’s own experience as a soldier in the British Army before the Revolution. Unlike Arnold, Gates was not the fighting general his soldiers loved. The appointment of Gates caused a great deal of conflict between Gates and Arnold, and the two often quailed.
The British were slowed an Bennington, but not stopped, and they clashed with the Continental Army under the command of Schuyler and Arnold. The battle was a delaying action. The two sides clashed again at Freeman’s Farm on September 17. Gates was content to do nothing, but Arnold made his own move against the British. The battle bled the British, who were getting low on ammunition and supplies, forcing Burgoyne to withdraw to Saratoga.
Upon hearing that Arnold acted unilaterally, Gates relieved Arnold of command and confined him to quarters, on the eve of the second battle. Burgoyne launched his own attack, in a desperate bid to reach Albany before winter set in, on October 7. The Battle of Bemis Heights nearly turned into a disaster for the Patriot Cause. Though outnumbered by October, the British assault was strong enough to break the will of some militia units, causing them to flee.
Gates believed the battle would be lost if he did not act. His order was for his army to retreat, however an orderly retreat was difficult to manage. Some units broke and ran from charging British cavalry. If not for Arnold disobeying orders, the battle might well have been lost. Instead of staying confined to quarters, Arnold raced to join the battle. Seeing his own countrymen retreating, Arnold charged forth, rallying them. Given the choice between running away or at the enemy, the Continentals chose to follow Arnold instead of Gates.
Arnold personally lead the charge up Breymann Redoubt. Though seriously wounded in the leg, and taken out of the fight, the Continentals following him took the redoubt, and turned the course of the battle. Facing innumerable casualties, Burgoyne opted to retreat northwards toward Ticonderoga. Having the battle turned for him, Gates lead the army to outflank and cut-off the British plans of escape. Trapped, Gates attempted to demand unconditional surrender of the British, which was flatly refused. The British would sooner fight to the death. The British would accept the plan to be disarmed; taken into captivity, and marched to Boston to be returned to Britain, under the promise they would never fight in America again.
On October 17, after much negotiation, Burgoyne lead his army out of camp and surrendered. However, he refused to surrender to Gates, despite the fact it was he who was negotiating. From his own reports, Burgoyne learned that Gates sounded a retreat. Burgoyne would surrender only to the man who bested him. After much arguing, an aid sympathetic to Arnold lead Burgoyne to Arnold’s temporary quarters.
At the time of surrender, Arnold was fighting another battle, this against the surgeons to keep his leg. Arnold vaguely knew what happened outside the hospital, and believed Gates would steal all the credit. Much to his surprise, on the morning of the 17th, a Redcoat General entered his tent and offered Arnold his sword. Arnold accepted and acknowledged the terms of the surrender. Though he was clearly the Victor of Saratoga, it did not stop Gates from receiving credit. Arnold and part of his army would spend winter quarters in Albany, Arnold healing and promoted to Major General. Congress would reward Gates’s ‘contribution’ by appointing him Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Department of the Continental Army.
Recognition
Britain’s European enemies, always seeking to exploit a weakness from any of its rivals took a vested interest in the American Revolution. The French, in particular. After losing Quebec to the British and Amazonia to the Dutch in 1763, Louis XVI was eager for revenge. However, in 1775, there was no evidence that this Revolution would succeed. In fact, most of the French King’s advisors predicted it would fail in 1776. It took a great deal of effort on behalf of the Congress to convince France to back them. Thus they sent Benjamin Franklin to Versailles.
The Dutch, who have eyed Britain’s possessions in India for decades. Though they had been allies since 1688, the United Provinces were drawn into several wars because of their British allies. When Britain attempted to enlist Dutch support in crushing the colonial rebellion, the Dutch refused. Much of New Amsterdam’s trade was with the colonies, and war would severely disrupt trade. The Dutch King, King William V saw his nation’s alliance with the British to be more a liability than an asset. The southern Provinces suffered greatly during the wars with France during the 18th Century.
Upon the surrender of an entire British Army, Louis XVI saw his own chance to avenge the losses of the Seven Years War. In Early 1778, the French signed an alliance with the Americans. French funding and military assistance were sent to America as quickly as possible. The Dutch recognized the United States on June 12, 1778, and with that signed an alliance of their own, at the cost of their century-long alliance with the British. The alliance with the United States had little to do with trade in America, though that was essential to New Amsterdam. Instead, the United Provinces saw this as a chance to gain restitution for their sacrifices in Britain’s wars; namely Bengal.
Unofficially, French subjects were serving in the Continental Army in a mercenary fashion. It is often pointed out that the British recruited numerous German mercenaries for their war in the Americas, and just as often overlooked that Congress hired a few of their own. The most famous was Washington’s own aid-de-camp, Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis of Lafayette. Lafayette came into the service of the Continental Army during Howe’s campaign to capture Philadelphia. He was wounded at Brandywine, and the young French noble braved the same miserable conditions at Valley Forge as his American comrades
The Iroquois Confederacy allied themselves with the United States officially after the Dutch. Unofficially, they had already battle the British during the Saratoga Campaign. For their allegiance to the Patriot Cause, the Six Nations signed a treaty with Congress guaranteeing their own independence, and security to their own lands. The Iroquois gave immediate assistance to the Continental Army still camped in its lands.
The first joint campaign between American and any of its allies came in April of 1779, when a Dutch army under the command of the Marquis of New Amsterdam, numbering some three thousand, linked up with another army under the command of Arnold, and marched on Connecticut. The goal was to drive the British out of New England. Arnold had a vested interest in this campaign; his home being New Haven. Allied and British forces clashed at New Haven, the last outpost of British occupation in New England10.
Though still partially-crippled, Arnold managed to lead his army from the front. On May 2, 1779, the British commander of New Haven surrendered to Arnold. Once the city was in American hands, Arnold tended his resignation. He was crippled in service of his nation, his leg wound at Saratoga never heeling properly, and was passed over numerous times for promotion. Adding insult to injury, Congress always had difficulty paying its soldiers and officers. This was too much for the proud Arnold to take. Once in New Haven, he tried to pick up the pieces of his shattered business and get on with life.
The Southern Strategy
With France and the United Provinces in the war (Spain declared war upon Britain in 1779), the British knew that they would not be able to hold on to all their colonies. The French managed landings in the Saint Lawrence and achieved what Arnold could not; capturing Quebec. Liberation of New France caused a rift between the fragile alliance. The Count of Estaing, a French Admiral and commander of France’s expeditionary force, refused to move south to aid the Americans in New England. Taking back Quebec, and Montreal, cost the French dearly, and they would risk the British retaking it.
Since the British already knew they would loose territory at the peace table (though not as much as they would when the Dutch capture Bengal), George III, took the advice of his generals and ordered the forces in the Americas try and hold on to the colonies loyal to the crown, namely the southern ones. In addition, with France in the war, much of the resources pumped into North America was diverted to save the precious sugar isles. London could afford to lose New England, but not Jamaica, the Bahamas or any of the lesser Antilles and their sugar production. And Louis XVI had his eyes on those islands.
Throughout 1780, the Southern Strategy worked well. Augusta and Charleston were in British hands by 1779, and the Southern Department of the Continental Army was forced to surrender at Camden. The loss of an entire army threatened to leave the southern colonies in the hands of the British, if not for the guerilla war launched by the likes of Nathaniel Greene in North Carolina and Virginia. The loss also forced Washington to march south to fill the gap. New England had little to fear from the British, with the Dutch navy operating out of New Amsterdam and French control of Quebec.
However, due to Gates’s11 ineptitude at Camden, Washington knew he would need fighting generals to aid him in defeating the British army under the command of Lord Cornwallis. He made a personal detour to New Haven to convince his greatest fighting general to once again take up the Patriot Cause. Arnold managed to rebuild part of his business, which had a great deal of trouble in trading in the Caribbean, as the British kept trying to capture his ships, and lived a bitter life of his own. He kept track of the war, and felt both vindicated and disgusted by the surrender at Camden. Arnold believe that if he were there, it would have been Cornwallis who would have surrendered.
Though he swore never to put on the uniform again, and never to bleed one more drop of blood for a government that did not appreciate him, Arnold was hard-pressed to resist Washington’s offer. Washington offered Arnold command of the entire left wing of the Continental Army, answerable only to himself. Washington waited three days, as long as he could afford to be absent from his army. On the last day, Arnold agreed to the commission.
By October of 1781, Cornwallis’s army was trapped in Virginia with both the Continental Army, and a French army under the command of Rochambeau trapped the British on the York Peninsula. Cornwallis had every intent to withdraw by sea, however, the French fleet battled the British and forced the evacuaters to themselves evacuate, trapping Cornwallis. Between September 28 and October 19, the allied armies laid siege to the trapped British.
On October 17, with many of the surrounding redoubts in American or French hands, and supplies dwindling, Cornwallis sent two officers under the white banner of truce into the American camp to negotiate a surrender. The surrender occurred on October 19, as eighty-five hundred British soldiers and two hundred artillery pieces were taken into American custody. Cornwallis attempted to surrender his sword to Rochambeau. The French General indicated that it was Washington who should surrendered. Washington himself refused, and indicated to one of his generals, Benjamin Lincoln, whom the British humiliated at Charleston. Lincoln accepted the surrender, and with that, the war in America grinded to a halt.
The Treaty of Paris (1783)
For nearly two years, the belligerents spent negotiating an appropriate peace. A change in Britain’s government in 1782 delayed the peace process even further. Attempting to sell the treaty to Parliament added to that delay. Britain was expected to grant the American colonies independence, this was a foregone conclusion even before the sides sat down at the tables. However, the United States, France and United Provinces would only settle for an allied peace. France demanded Quebec to be returned to it, and the Dutch planned on keeping Bengal and become the masters of India.
Other matters at hand concerned American fishing rights along the Grand Banks, and America’s border extending as far as the Mississippi River. Spain expressed concern over this, since it still controlled the western half of the former New France. Should America grow too powerful, they might just expand into Spain’s colonial concessions. Those who would really be threaten by such a move would be the Indian Tribes not allied with the United States. Indian allies would keep their land, where as any who opposed the expanding settlements would be simply brushed aside.
The treaty was signed on September 3, 1783, formally ending the world-wide war. The treaty was not completely in the favor of the newly independent United States. As per one of the stipulations in the treaty, Congress was to pay reparations to loyalists, most of which fled to British Canada, and Caribbean colonies. The treaty was not ratified by Congress until January of 1784. One important note, during negotiation, many officers of the Continental Army met and discussed marching on Philadelphia, to ‘influence Congress’. This was the sort of action predicted by many in Europe, for revolutions seldom ended without civil war. If not for the intervention of Washington, who steadfast refused to take control of government; ‘I did not fight to remove George III so that I could become George I’. When he entered the plotter’s lodge and stood before them, planning on reading a letter from Congress, he paused to retrieve his glasses. ‘Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country’. Washington’s simple actions shammed the officers into giving up the idea of marching on Congress.
The First Republic
In 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, a system of government for the United States. The Articles laid the responsibility of the common government solely in the hands of Congress. The First Republic was little more than a loosely knit confederation of sovereign states who only agree to mutual defense and free passage of its citizens between each state. The states were in fact eleven independent republics.
Flaws were apparent from the beginning. The Articles offered one vote for each state, though the state could have as many as seven delegates. This favored the smaller states, and left the more populous ones at a disadvantage. In order to amend the Articles, the vote must be unanimous, making it very inflexible. It also pressed the states to give up their Western Land Claims, finally making it law in 1787. This caused a great deal of trouble for Virginia, who claimed the entire Ohio Valley.
This largest flaw was that Congress was denied the right of taxation. States levied their own taxes, and if they were feeling generous, would donate a portion to the central government. Within ten years of its creation, many American statesmen knew the government was at risk of collapsing if these flaws were not corrected. Attempts to amend the articles were short lived as Rhode Island continued to block any changes. At the Annapolis Convention in 1786, five states (Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Connecticut and New Hampshire) called for a Constitutional Convention, to replace the Articles of Confederation wholly.
On May 25, 1787, the ten states (Rhode Island abstained) plus delegates from the Iroquois Confederacy12 met in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia. Presiding over the Convention was George Washington, a man that all the delegates respected. For four months, Federalists, lead by Alexander Hamilton of Connecticut argued with anti-federalists, consisting of mostly southern delegates over the finer points of the Constitution.
There was a great deal of effort to make the Executive Branch into a monarchy with Washington as King. Washington refused, time and again. Some adjustments would have made the office President-for-Life, which was little more than an elected monarchy. A four year term was settled upon, so that the electors could remove any man who did an inadequate job. Duties of the President were largely designed with Washington in mind. Few Presidents since had been worthy enough to fill Washington’s shoes.
The Congress was redesigned, somewhat along the lines of the Staaten-General of the United Provinces.13 The lower house, the House of Representatives, would be elected by popular vote and proportioned by population, thus favoring the larger states. Each would serve for two years. To placate the smaller states, a Senate was created, in which the state assemblies would elect Senators to represent the interests of the states. Each would serve six years.
A Supreme Court was created, in which seven Justices would be appointed for life (pending good behavior) by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Each three branches of government were specifically designed to impede the growth of power in any other. A series of checks and balances was believed to preserve the new republic, and thus far has managed. The final draft was settled upon on September 25, 1787, and went to the legislatures of the eleven states.
Pennsylvania attempted to ratify it first, but was beaten by Delaware (December 7, 1787) but was second to do so (December 12, 1787).Connecticut followed (December 18, 1787). Georgia was the 4th ratifier (January 2, 1788) followed by Massachusetts (February 6, 1788) and New Hampshire (March 9, 1788). When Maryland became the 7th ratifier (April 28, 1788) the Constitution was the law of the land, and preparation were made for the first federal elections.
South Carolina (May 23, 1788) and Virginia (June 25, 1788) where the last to ratify it that year. In 1789, North Carolina ratified the Constitution (December 21, 1789). Last of the Eleven Colonies was tiny Rhode Island (May 29, 1790). The Republic of Vermont was admitted into the Union on March 3, 1791. After much deliberation in Congress, the Iroquois Confederacy14 was admitted as the 13th State on November 15, 1791.

The First Presidency1
George Washington was the only man to ‘run’ unopposed for the office of President when he was elected unanimously by the Electoral College in 1788. He was not elected as much as the office was designed with him in mind, then thrust upon him. He took the Oath of Office at the Pennsylvania State House on March 20, 1789. Philadelphia would serve as capital until the new Federal City, located on neutral territory between Maryland and Virginia could be opened– or at the very least, the critical federal buildings completed.
One of the first tests for the Second American Republic came from the western counties of Pennsylvania. After fighting a revolution supposedly over taxation, it came as quite a shock to many whiskey distillers that Congress passed a tax on whiskey. Instead of paying, most of the western part of the state rose up in protest, bordering rebellion. In order to make it clear that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land, President Washington lead ten thousand soldiers of both the small federal army and various militia into western Pennsylvania to put down the ‘Whiskey Rebellion’. He has been the only president to ever personally lead an army while President.
Some interstate matters also tested the new nation. White settlers from the other states continuously attempted to migrate into the State of Iroquois, much to the displeasure of the state’s largely Indian population. The Iroquois state assembly attempted to pass laws restricting encroachment on their lands, but these were struck down as unconstitutional. Iroquois representatives introduced legislation to Congress concerning making lands in the Ohio Valley cheap, while at home increase various ‘property’ taxes. Since most of the Six Nations’ people did not believe in land ownership, they were exempt. These tactics, plus the bitter coldness of the Iroquois winter, persuaded many settlers to move westward. This brought them into conflict with Indian tribes of the Great Lakes region. The Federal Government would exempt their allies15 from colonization, but turned a blind eye when an enemy tribe was invaded.
Externally, relations with Revolutionary France were strained at best. The United States, more specifically its merchants, were trapped in the war between Britain and France. Any ship heading to British port was seized by the French, and any ship heading into France was seized by the British. This reached a head during the Jefferson Administration with Congress passing the Embargo Act, forbidding trade with other countries. This hurt American industry far worse than Europe.
Jeffersonian Age
Elected in 1800, Jefferson was the first President to reside in the presidential mansion in the new capital. The city of Washington, in what was called the District of Columbia, would serve as the nation’s capital for another eight decades. In its day, it was widely condemned for being built on a swamp, in hindsight, it was a very appropriate location for what would be a stagnate government in future decades.
Jefferson’s election also ushered in America’s first foreign war. During the Adams Administration, Congress and the President found it more practical to pay off the pirate states of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, nominally under Ottoman overlordship. As the year went by, the ‘tribute’ continued to rise, when in 1803, it would have measured twenty-five percent of the annual budget. By then, it was decided that it was cheaper to build and maintain a large navy than to pay extortion. Some American ships sought to cheat by sailing under an orange banner. After the Dutch raised the city of Algiers during the 18th Century, the Barbary pirates avoided any ship under the Dutch flag.
By 1810, the Barbary threat was largely suppressed by actions against Algiers and Tunis by the navy and a march on Tripoli by the marine corps. The three states signed treaties with America, basically guaranteeing the right of passage on the sea and the freeing of all American sailors captured by the pirates.
Overseas wars were not the United States’ only means of expansion. In 1803, after relations between America and France normalized, Jefferson sent an envoy to Paris to negotiate the purchasing of New Orleans. With that city under American control, farmers in the Ohio Valley and all lands west of the Appalachians would have free access of the Mississippi River. Jefferson and Congress authorized spending as much as ten million dollars to buy the strategically important city (less than what was used to purchase the entire island of Cuba).
France, under Napoleon’s control, was strapped for cash to finance its wars against the European empires. Napoleon knew he could not control all of Louisiana while fighting on Continental Europe, and he had no way of preventing the British from taking it. He raised the price to twelve million, but instead of the city, he offered the Americans the whole of Louisiana. Better to sell it to friends than to be forced to cede it to enemies. Despite the fall of the monarchy, the French16 remembered the lessons of the Seven Years War, and the loss of New France and French Amazonia to her enemies.
It was a great surprise when the envoys returned and presented the agreement to Congress. There was much debate as to even if this purchase was legal. Jefferson went as far as to draft a constitutional amendment to allow the country to purchase new land. In the end, the Louisiana Purchase was deemed constitutional, eliminating any need for amendments, and doubled the size of the young nation. As to what the United States purchased, it was not known. Several expeditions would be sent forth to chart this land. As for what to do with it, there was a proposal to render the land a vast Indian reservation, a place to deport tribes hostile towards the Federal Government.
The Second Anglo-American War
Less than thirty years after officially achieving independence, the United States, now eighteen (the addition of Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Louisiana by war’s declaration) faced off against its former mother country over rights to the highseas. During its own war with Napoleon, the Royal (British) Navy filled its ranks by impressing sailors. Often these were United States citizens. Britain ignored the diplomatic protests, since its own laws do not recognize the right of its own citizens to switch national allegiance.
Furthermore, enemy tribes in the Ohio Valley put up considerable resistance against Federal and allied Tribal armies. The British armed many of these tribes via Canada, though when confronted with the accusation, they staunchly deny it. The British did arm the Indians, and with good reason. London’s plan was to create a buffer zone between its Canadian colony and the expansionist United States. After its acquisition of Louisiana, the British grew wary of the Americans.
Tensions continued to rise until 1812, when war hawks in Congress and a few general decided the only way to keep the Indians from attacking settlers was to cut-off their trade with Britain, i.e. invade Canada. Since the British have occupied Quebec for the better part of the Napoleonic Wars, the liberation of Quebec was also of national importance. This much was agreed upon, but as for annexing Canada– that was not so clear cut. Canada of 1812 was largely populated by exiles from the former eleven colonies (loyalists) and their decedents.
Siting both Indian attacks and harassment of the American merchant marine, President Madison stood before Congress and asked for a declaration of war, which he received on June 18, 1812. Despite attacks on commerce, all of the New England delegates voted against the war. Bringing the full wrath of the British Navy was far worse than the occasional harassment on the high seas. A full scale blockade would cripple the New England economy.
The Great Lakes
Almost from the beginning of the war, Britain’s meager forces in Canada successfully swept the Great Lakes region clear of the United States Army. Detroit fell within weeks of the declaration and Fort Dearborne fell without even firing a shot. So disastrous was the army’s actions that Congress immediately began to regret the war. Ohio’s own militia refused to leave the state to pursue the war, and in some cases, the militia even refused to leave their home towns. With the United States Army in retreat, enemy tribes only felt more encouraged to drive back the wave of settlers.
Attempts to cross the Niagra River into Canada met with Disaster. Again, the militia refused to cross the river. Their responsibility was to their homes. The Iroquois militia proved completely unreliable to the regular Army. Indian military doctrine was incompatible with the European model of the Army. The Iroquois would only attack head on if they were certain of victory, otherwise they would remain hidden, launching hit-and-run attacks when the opportunity provided itself. When the British, in turn, cross the river into Iroquois, the Indians’ guerilla tactics frustrated any attempts for a British advance.
The only reason the war was not lost in the first few months was because the bulk of Britain’s armed forces were waging a war in Europe against a far more dangerous opponent than the upstart American nation. Against Napoleon, the British would field armies of tens of thousands. Only a fraction of that could be afforded for the war in American, and even that proved effective against the poorly trained United States Army.
The real bright spot of the whole Great Lakes Theater came from the Navy. Dutch officers were hired to instruct at the Naval Academy in Baltimore. On September 10, 1813, Great Lakes squadrons of both American and British origin clashed upon Lake Erie, near Put-in Bay off the Ohio coast. Under the command of Oliver Perry, the Americans scored a decisive victory over the British, effectively driving them from the lake. It was only the Army’s inability to capitalize on this victory that caused the war to drag on into the disastrous year of 1814.
The Sacking of Washington
With Napoleon in exile17, the British could afford to send its veteran soldiers to fight in America. The British were eager to end the war swiftly, sensing tensions between the victorious allies in Europe, and thus headed to the source of the problems. Five thousand soldiers landed on the Maryland shore of the Chesapeake Bay. With much of the United States Army in the north, the British marched mostly unchallenged towards the city of Washington, meeting only militia units along the way, and easily scattering them.
During the 18th Century, capturing the enemy’s capital usually spelled victory for the attacker. It was here the British hoped to dictate their own peace terms, which called for annexation of land, and independence for many of Britain’s own Indian allies. Though these terms would be reduced by war’s end, it was a sign of confidence from the British that the war would soon be over.
On August 24, 1814, the British met an American Army of some 650 regulars and a few thousand militia at the town of Blandenburg, outside of Washington. The battle was decided even shortly after it began. As with many battles in the Second Anglo-American War, the militia18 broke and ran before the disciplined British. Of the 650 regulars, eleven were killed and over one hundred captured. The rest retreated to Washington to aid in defending the evacuating government.
On the night of August 24, the British entered the city of Washington, and took the capital building and presidential mansion, but not totally unopposed. Of all of Congress, one Senator from Connecticut refused to flee. When three soldiers attempted to convince him to leave, he was reported to say ‘I never gave one inch of American soil during the last war, and I’ll be damned if I start now’. The Senator was none other than Benedict Arnold.
At the age of 73, the position of Senator was the last in a long line of occupations for Arnold. After the Constitution was ratified, Arnold ran and served one term as representative. Afterwards, he ran for Governor of his own state and won. Just as with his army days, Arnold had the habit of stepping on the toes of professional politicians. His opponents in the state assembly sought ways to remove him. He was popular amongst the people, so it was unlikely he could be voted out of office. When Connecticut’s Senate seat became open, the assembly saw a way to rid themselves of Arnold. They elected him to represent the assembly in Washington, and continued to do so until, as one assemblyman put it ‘he retires for good or dies’.
When the British advanced upon the capital, Arnold took the rifle from the youngest soldier and told him to go aid the others19 escape. The other two soldiers he ordered to stay and fight. They could have fled, but the sight of an old man ready to take on the British Army shamed them into staying, though they knew the outcome. After a brief shootout, the three defenders were gunned down by the British. Afterwards, Arnold was recognized by the British commander (how exactly still remains unclear) and ordered his men to give him a burial fit for great soldier. Afterwards, they proceeded to have a mock session of Congress were they voted to burn down the building.
The Hartford Convention
On October 10, 1814, delegates from Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts met in Hartford to discuss a way to get out of the war. Some critics condemned the convention as an attempt by New England to secede from the Union, though it was an option in the eyes of the commerce-orientated New Englanders. At the convention, five constitutional amendments were proposed. 1) Prohibiting trade embargoes lasting over sixty days; 2) Requiring two-thirds votes in Congress for declaration of war, admission of states or interdiction of commerce; 3) Removing the three-fifths clause to the Constitution. The clause gave southern states more representation than they deserved since it counted slaves as three-fifths of a citizen, even though they were legal property; 4) Placing a limit on the office of the President for one term; 5) Presidents must be from different states than their predecessor.20 None of these amendments were ever passed, but the potential of New England seceding and making a separate peace with Britain was enough to convince Congress and the President that it was time to negotiate.
Treaty of Ghent
By December of 1814, the two belligerents decided it was time to end the war. Napoleon had returned to France, and Britain was facing troubled relations with Russian at the Vienna Congress, so the British removed several of their demands. Especially after the Americans, even after losing their capital to flames, made it clear they would never except such terms. However, they would have to give up some land to achieve peace.
Britain’s terms were not terribly harsh, and after the treaty was signed, the British would respect America’s right to trade on the highseas. However, the British used the peace talks to settle disputes in territory between America and the Canadian colony. The United States would cede the northern portion of Upper Massachusetts (present day Maine) along with the Red River Valley (in present day Minnesota).
In return, the British would cease interfering with American trade and no longer impress its citizenry. The treaty was signed, and later ratified by a humbled Congress. Three weeks after the treaty was signed, a battle between British and American armies at New Orleans ended with the British trapped within the city. The siege of the British army was lifted upon hearing the news of peace. The United States would spend decades rebuilding their wounded economy and shattered pride.
Manifest Destiny
Following the Second Anglo-American War, many American grew into the idea of a nation, at the very least, spreading from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This idea would have been very alien to the Founding Fathers of the previous generation. In fact, Thomas Jefferson did imagine a day when American were everywhere, but he did not like the idea of America herself being everywhere. The expansionistic fervor went by the name of Manifest Destiny. The first victim of this Destiny were tribes who made themselves enemy of the Federal Government.
These tribes were expelled from their ancestral land and exiled across the Mississippi River into a vast Indian reservation on the border with New Spain. What the Indians did there was their own business. As for their former land, it was opened up to settlers. Settling the newly conquered lands was vastly increased with the Homestead Act. The land was basically free provided that the settlers could ‘improve’ it.
Treaty of Adams-Onis
Bands of the Seminole tribe made war upon Americans on the American-Floridian border. The Indians quickly learned of the border and that the United States Army would not cross it. They would raid and pillage, then cross back into Spanish Florida. It was not until Andrew Jackson, hero of New Orleans, took command that circumstance changed. During his first command of the cavalry, he pursued the Indians to the border. The Seminole expected the Americans to stop at the border, and were quite surprised when they continued to pursue them back to their village.
Tensions between the United States and Spain were something Spain wished to avoid. With its own colonial empire in rebellion, it could not afford to expend the effort to defend Florida. Instead of war, negotiations started over the cession of Florida. The United States annexed West Florida before the Second Anglo-American War. Florida offered little to Spain, and since keeping the Americans out of it would be impossible, the decision was made to surrender the colony.
The Treaty of Adams-Onis, ratified in 1819, not only ceded Florida to the United States, but also sold the island of Cuba as well. The island was purchased for $8.7 million. For almost seventy-five percent of the price of Louisiana, the Americans purchased an island a fraction of the size. Spain was desperate for the cash, same as France, especially after the Napoleonic Wars and a multi-front colonial rebellion in New Spain, New Grenada and Peru. After ratification, both Florida and Cuba became American territories, and states (1845 and 1851 respectively).
New Amsterdam Statehood
In 1824, the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam held its referendum. The New Amsterdammers were given three choices; 1) Stay a colony; 2) Statehood in personal union with the United Provinces; 3) Full Independence. A four option was selected by the majority of voters; admission into the United States. By the 1820s, New Amsterdam did as much trade with the United States as it did with the mother country.
For the Americans, New Amsterdam was a strategic location at the mouth of the Mauritius. The Erie Canal was already under construction, offering a passage from the Great Lakes to the Mauritius River, bypassing British controlled Canadian waters and the French controlled Saint Lawrence Seaway. However, the output terminal would be in Dutch controlled New Amsterdam. Once the canal was opened, New Amsterdam would become the center of Trade for eastern North America, making it extremely valuable to whomever controlled it.
The New Amsterdammers, felt more and more culturally connected to the Americans than their own nation of origin. New Amsterdam’s admission into the Union was swift, only a few weeks after the referendum passed. The United Provinces and United States signed a treaty turning the colony over to the Americans. According to American laws, hereditary titles were revoked, causing the Marquis of New Amsterdam to become a private citizen. Though the de Ruyter family lost their title, they continued to thrive. Their trading business evolved into the present day Ruyter’s department stores scattered across the eastern United States and Quebec.
New Amsterdam was admitted as the twenty-fourth state, and still is the only state to possess a Parliamentary Republic as a state government. Per the Constitution, any member of the United States was required to have a republican form of government. Whether it be presidential, semi-presidential or parliamentary was never specified. The state still lacks the defined separation-of-powers seen at the federal level and every other state.
National Reforms
During the 1820s, the United States faced a power struggle. Not between men or branched of government, but of ideas. Nationalism clashed with regionalism. In the south, the people considered themselves citizens of the states as opposed to the Union. So strong was regionalism, that in 1828, the Nullification Crisis threaten to start civil war. South Carolina, in response to trade regulations, attempted to succeed from the Union. Only an overwhelming response from the Jackson Administration kept South Carolina as a State.
After decades of debate, the United States finally adopted a central banking system. Leading up to the Federal Reserve, banking was the responsibility of state-chartered banks. Each of these banks printed a hodge-podge of paper currency. The currency could be exchanged at the banks for its worth in gold, however, the length of travel required to trade in the currency lead to devaluing of currency in proportion to distance. After so many miles, the paper currency was effectively worthless. Carrying enough gold to pay one’s bills was not always the most practical of methods.
In Congress there was great concern that these private banks could not provide the country with a uniform and standard currency. Two attempts to establish a national bank had failed, and a successful bank would not be chartered until after the War of Succession. Other reforms were taking place during the 1830s. One involved the penal system, and instead of executing criminals, the idea of reforming them arose. By the use of strict discipline and religious indoctrination, it was hoped to cure the person of his criminal habits. Even to this day, a similar system it used in American for most offenders, however instead of spiritual awakening, prisoners are often taught marketable skills in hope that work might keep them out of trouble. It met with mixed success, and the Federal and States’ prison system is still clogged with long-term and life-term offenders, and those who simply will not reform.
For the beginning of the nation, education was left as a local affair. Massachusetts was the first state to adopt a state-wide education system, with standardized curriculums. With the rapid industrialization of New England, a great deal of skills learned for generations of farming were of little use. New specialized fields erupted across the country requiring extensive education. By the end of the 19th Century, each state in the Union required at least eight years within public education, and literacy rates were many times higher than a hundred years previously.
The Mexican War
In the 1820s, the newly independent nation of Mexico opened the borders to its state of Texas to American settlement. However, in order to immigrate, the settlers were required to convert to Catholicism and learn Spanish. The settlers promised to do so, but quickly forgot their promise. Texas is considered to be one of the first filibusters. There is little doubt that those who settled in Texas had no intention in staying part of Mexico. The Texas Revolution is just as much settler plotting as it was Mexico’s inability to assimilate the influx of settlers. Tension between the government and settlers came to a head in 1835 when the Texans declared independence.
The Texan Revolution was a short and bloody affair. The first came on March 5, 1836, with the storming of the Alamo. Almost all the defenders were killed during the assault, but a handful were taken wounded, but still alive. According to Mexican accounts, Davie Crocket was among those captured and later executed. It is entirely possible, but no evidence exists to support the claim.
The second incident came with the surrender of the garrison at Goliad. After handing in their arms, Mexican General Santa Anna ordered all the defenders executed. Both massacres were fresh on the mind of the Texans at the Battle of San Jacinco on April 21, where a Mexican Army three times the size of the Texans was defeated, and Santa Anna captured. In exchange for his life and freedom, Texas would be recognized as independent. When Santa Anna took this before Mexico’s Congress, the treaty was promptly rejected, leaving Texas unofficially independent.
Nine years later, when Texas’s petition to join the union was accepted, Mexico accused the United States of invading its territory. Further complicating the issue, the Texans recognized the Grande River as Texas’s southern border, whereas Mexico’s maps showed the Black River as its border. Near the Gulf of Mexico, the distance was minute, but on the western edges, the Grande River border doubled the size of Texas.
After Texas was admitted into the Union, American cavalry began to patrol the Texan claimed area. It was inevitable, but they encountered a patrol from the Mexican Army. Shots were fired and the American public reacted venomously. American blood spilled on American soil. By 1846, Congress declared a state of war with Mexico.
The war was rather one-sided. Despite the fact that Mexico had a far larger army, the United States army was packed with veterans of numerous Indian wars. Nationalistic fever swelled the American ranks. Two armies invaded Mexico from the north. One advance force under the command of John Fremont captured northern California, establishing the twenty-six day long Californian Republic. Within months, the Mexican Army was ejected from New Mexico, a land Congress repeatedly offered to buy.
By 1847, American soldiers landed at Veracruz, defeating Santa Anna outside of the city of Mexico. The last resistance to American conquest came from the Mexican Military Academy, the ‘Halls of Montezuma’. United States Marines easily defeated the cadets, who fought to the last. Within a year of the war’s start, American generals and diplomats were in the city of Mexico dictating peace terms.
Debate in Congress raged over whether or not to annex the entire country. Those who wanted all of Mexico argued that American blood was spilt in conquest, thus the land was now American. Opponents to the All-Mexico claimed that it was an attempt of the southerners to extend slavery and expand their own power base. In the end, it was a racial question that preserved Mexico. Congress could not agree on bringing so many people of Indian-decent and non-English into the Union.
The Treaty of Hildago-Guadeloupe forced Mexico to recognize the annexation of Texas, along with the Grande River boundary. Further, it would sell all of California, New Mexico, Sonora, Chihuahua and Durango to the United States for twenty million dollars. This conquest expanded the United States to the Pacific Ocean.
The Oregon Treaty
While tension and war loomed with Mexico, the United States collided with its old nemesis, the United Kingdom. The debate between the two came over the boundary of the Oregon Country. Britain and America both claimed all of it, and some in Congress were ready to go to war over the 54-40 boundary. However, memories of the disaster of the Second Anglo-American War, coupled with the fact the nation was already in a war with Mexico, lead to a compromise. The land would be divided along the 49th parallel, though the British still claimed the Columbia River as a boundary as well, which would resurface during the Third Anglo-American War.
Disunity
Though national pride had been restored after the resounding victory over Mexico and conquest of a vast amount of new land, the victory also brought disunity. In 1850, the biggest debate in Congress was whether or not these new acquisitions would be free or slave. Slave holding settlers in Texas were already poised to move into Sonora and Durango, to open up the rest of the southwest to exploitation.
The south was not the only place feeling pressure to be on the move. Revolutions in Europe during the year of 1848, followed by famine, forced many refugees from Ireland, Germany and even Spain to move to America. These immigrant, for the most part, settled in the industrializing north, offering the factory owners their own source of exploitable labor. Unlike slaves, there seemed to be a never-ending stream of immigrants, and best of all, the owners did not have to invest much into their care.
The immigrants were not equal in their own rights. The Germans, many from middle class families, sold their German possessions and arrived in country with their own source of money. The Irish were looked upon with suspicion, largely because of their poverty and their faith. Catholics arriving in predominantly protestant New England were not always as welcomed as they were in New Amsterdam. On the other hand, capitalists tended to favor the Irish, for they would labor hard for less pay. The waves of immigration pushed many established American families to take up their roots and move west, to leave the problems of the East Coast behind.
However, the problems followed, whether the settlers willed it or not. In 1850, California was admitted into the Union as a free state. Congress passed what has become known as the Compromise of 1850, which stated the territory conquered from Mexico would leave the issue of slavery up to popular sovereignty. With many southerners already in Durango, Chihuahua and Sonora, that they were admitted as slave states (in 1862, 1855 and 1854 respectively). The rest of the Mexican Cession waited longer for statehood. This likely rose from the fact that the four states already admitted already had a resembling of government, which required little modification to forge a working constitution.
Kansas
Kansas Territory was a vision of things to come for the United States. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act extended popular sovereignty to all western territories. In theory, they could all be admitted as slave states, provided enough southerners could flood the territory. In the case of Kansas, many from New England settled alongside those from the South. Tensions between slaveholders and abolitionists quickly boiled over from fist fights into shootouts. Bleeding Kansas was but a prelude to a greater civil war that loomed on the horizon.
With popular sovereignty, the population of Kansas quadrupled in a matter of years. In the territorial assembly, a slave-holding majority was elected to serve in Lawrence. So angered were the ‘free-soilers’ that they set up their own parallel government in Topeka. The city of Lawrence was sacked by anti-slavery settlers on May 21, 1856. The civil war in Kansas was quite unlike the wars between the states. Kansas had more in common with African civil wars during the late 20th Century, with massacre followed by massacre. Roving gangs waged war upon each other and anyone who opposed their views.
Dred Scott
On March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court was dragged into the growing crisis. A slave by the name of Dred Scott was taken by his owner from Missouri (a slave state) to Illinois (a free state). Scott lived with his owner in the free state for an extended period of time. When his master died, Scott sued the widow for his freedom on the grounds that slavery was banded in Illinois and thus he was a free man.
Years before, the Fugitive Slave Act forced free states to return runaway slaves to their owners. It was another case of southern ways forced upon the other states. This uncompromising nature of Southerners is what would eventually lead to the War of Succession and eighty years of disunited states. Scott was freed, but the case was appealed until it landed in the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that Scott being freed was the same as the state seizing property without due process.
The ruling only strengthened anti-slavery sentiments in the north and further expanded the rift already existing between the states. Northerners began to see a pro-slavery conspiracy to control the Federal Government. Accusations flew back and forward until it all came to a head in the Election of 1860 and the Administration of Abraham Lincoln.
Filibuster
While many Americans moved westward, some moved south. One such American was a mercenary by the name of William Walker. He and a band of outlaws invaded the Mexican state of Nicaragua in hopes of taken over the government. Why Nicaragua? It has been suggested that Walker had hopes of using the geography of the state to build a trans-oceanic canal. His forces seized control of the state in 1851.
For two decades, the southern states of Mexico; Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala have tried to break away from Mexico. Their rebellion in the 1830s, around the same time as Texas, was crushed. Though the locals did not like the politicking in Mexico City, that did not mean they would support foreign invaders. By 1853, Walker was driven from Nicaragua into Costa Rica. In this border state, he found more support and less enthusiasm from Mexico’s army to defend.
Walker succeeded in taking over Costa Rica, declaring independence in 1854. Like Texas, Costa Rica’s Congress immediately voted for annexation by the United States. With turmoil in the United States between north and south, Costa Rica’s admission into the Union was delayed for years. The State of Costa Rica was not admitted until after the War of Succession, after slavery was banned by Constitutional Amendment.

The Kiat
April 5th, 2010, 11:21 PM
XII) Nations
(1861-1900)
Succession
Upon hearing the results of the Election of 1860, the State Assembly of South Carolina voted to dissolve its union and seceded on December 20, 1860. By February of 1861, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas all voted to succeed from the Union. At first South Carolina set itself up as an independent state, but when more states withdrew, they met in Birmingham, Alabama to form the Confederate States of America.
On April 12, 1861, after Lincoln refused to withdraw federal soldiers from Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, the South Carolina militia opened fire on the island garrison. Two days later, the garrison surrendered the fort and withdrew to the north. When Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand volunteers and ordered the army to crush the rebellion, several more states seceded; Arkansas on May 6, Tennessee on May 7, North Carolina on May 20, Sonora on June 21, and Chihuahua on July 5. Virginia’s assembly narrowly defeated the vote, as did Durango. Cuba did not even contemplate secession.
The initial campaign against the Carolinas met with failure as Union General McClellan failed to crush the Army of the Carolinas. McClellan’s failing was that he was too cautious a general, the opposite of a fighting general. His failures only served to enrage Lincoln. In Tennessee, the Union Army under the Command of Ulysses Grant managed to defeat the Confederate invasion of Kentucky and pursue them to Nashville.
Both sides had generals with their own virtues and failings. However, absent of this civil war was on Robert Lee, who resigned as superintendent of the military academy at Fort Arnold. Though he considered himself Virginian first, and though Virginia was still in the Union, Lee could not bring himself to enter a war that pitted brother against brother. He was condemned by both sides. The Confederates accused him of being a Yankee sympathizer, Americans accused him of being a Confederate sympathizer. Either way, it is now widely believed that had Lee took sides, it could have decided the war.
As it was, the war was effectively decided in April of 1862, when the Army of the Carolinas, under the command of Thomas Jackson, invaded Virginia. He met, and resounded defeated McClellan and the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Manassas. Manassas was a disaster for the Union, and its army was nearly destroyed in the process. This one victory was all that the British required to go forth to recognize the Confederacy. Britain’s chief interest came in the form of cotton, which it had in Egypt but the Confederates had in even great supply until the 1880s.
On July 3, 1862, the British Parliament recognized the Confederate States of America and signed an alliance against the Union. This move was parallel to the Franco-American alliance of 1778. What was not parallel was the fact that the Dutch did not react so well to Britain’s interference in an internal American affair. The Dutch government simply declared that if the British would intervene on behalf of the Confederates, than the United Provinces and Brazil would intervene on behalf of the Americans.
Seeing the War between the States threatening to spill over onto a world stage, it was France’s self-proclaim Emperor, Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon III) who moved to mediate peace between the governments in Washington and Birmingham. By January of 1863, the Union saw itself split in half, and the Confederate States of America gained their independence, along with the Indian territory and New Mexico territory, which they renamed Arizona Territory.
Following the disastrous War of American Succession, a thirteenth amendment was passed, banning slavery in the United States. To keep Virginia, Durango and Kentucky, along with other border states in the Union, a clause allowed for the federal government to reimburse the slave owners, much to the disgust of the rest of the nation. Though it was seen as basic tax relief for wealthy Southerners, the Amendment did achieve the goals of the abolitionists.
The Frontier
Another driving force for settling the west came in mineral wealth. Gold and silver, most importantly gold, was discovered in California, Colorado and Idaho. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, and various other nationalities. As with most gold rushes, it was not the miners who became wealthy but the traders who sold their goods at inflated prices. Why not charge ten times for an apple or pound of flour in a camp where most of the miners had more than enough gold to spare.
For the Americans, many Indian nations resisted their westward expansion. The largest of the plain’s nations, the Souix, found themselves allied with the Americans. In return, they were granted a vast track of the Midwest along the border of Canada. In the 1890s, it was admitted as the State of Lakoda. Several other tribes joined the Souix in Lakoda and continued their traditional ways1.
Many tribes, in Colorado and Nevada were swept aside by the settlers and ranchers that soon filled the west. These tribes found refuge in Confederate Arizona, where they were welcomed by, armed by and pointed the way north by the Confederacy. Raids into Colorado and Kansas were a continued irritant until the Great War. However, the raiding was not one way. The Confederates had less love for Indians, which they considered only slightly above their own slaves in status, and simply drove many off their lands. Following the end of its War with the North, the government of Georgia expelled the Cherokee westward into the Indian Territory.
Tribes such as the Apache were driven off prime ranching lands and found refuge in the United States. The Americans did the same as their Confederate counterparts; arming and aiding Indian resistance against the White Man’s Government. Not even massacres dissuaded either government from the assistance. When accused by one side, the other simply denied it had anything to do with the raid.
Along with border-raiding Indians, the Wild West of both America and Confederacy was filled with lawlessness and anarchy. Often, the territorial government extended no further than its capital, and the Army did little beyond its own forts. It was from the lawlessness that the American tradition of Vigilantism was born. It was not born for love of government, but rather it was a necessary evil, a means to control the criminal elements in cow towns and mining camps.
The Confederate West was most wild in the Indian Territory, which was opened to white settlement in the late 1880s. Open warfare erupted with the Indians exiled to Indian Territory, renamed Oklahoma by its white settlers. However, most warfare was one-sided, with Indian villages burned out. By 1900, most of the Indians were assimilated into the rigid structure of southern society.
The Third Anglo-American War
Tensions rose and fell over the Indian warfare along the two American Nations’ borders. Tension grew between Federal and State governments over rising power of Washington. Freeing the slaves, despite manumission, sparked seditious movements in Virginia. The Confederates saw this resentment against Washington and sought to exploit it. Many nationalists in Birmingham considered the Confederacy incomplete without Virginia.
Confederates sponsored movements in Virginia with the goal of overthrowing the pro-Union government in Richmond. Other movements pushed for referendums in Kentucky, Cuba and Durango, all supported by Birmingham. One such referendum was introduced to Kentucky in 1876, and was defeated by a safe margin. Legal measures were not the only ones taken by pro-Confederate Virginians. In April of 1882, the Union government of Virginia was overthrown, and the conspirators declared Virginia’s union with the Union was dissolved. Within a month, Senators and representatives from Virginia were meeting in Birmingham.
The overthrowing of the Virginian government was seen as a direct-action by the Confederacy, causing the United States to declare war on the Confederate States. Three days after word rushed across the Atlantic, the British declared war upon the United States. This time, the Dutch were unable to come to America’s assistance, they attention focused clearly on rebellions in southern Africa.
The United States Army was still twice the size of the Confederate Army, same as during the war between the states. Furthermore, years of battling Plains Indians made them a battle-hardened army. However, fighting tribal wars was far different than fighting an enemy training in European style of warfare. Unlike the United States, the Confederates were not hesitant in aligning themselves with a foreign power. The Confederate Army and Navy were both trained by the British, including planing out future wars in advance. The Americans simply fought the war as it unfolded.
Cuba was the first to fall to the British-Confederate alliance. The Royal (British) Navy blockaded the island, and ferried both Confederate and British soldiers to the island, to defeat the few American garrisons on the island. The last to fall was Guantanamo Bay, on August 7, 1883. The American Army was further driven from Virginia after the Battle of the James River on October 1, 1883. Suffering great casualties, the Army of the Potomac withdrew to Alexandria, where it withstood a joint Confederate-British siege of that city and Washington until early 1885.
Fighting in Durango was short, for neither side spared much in the way of resources to battle in this southwestern state. Its government peacefully changed hands as pro-Union politicians were fired and pro-Confederate ones elected. There was brief concern that the French may intervene on the Confederate’s behalf, causing the Americans to divert soldiers and ships to Costa Rica, to defend against any possible invasion from French Mexico. In truth, the French had far more problems in their continuing campaign to pacify the Mexican populace, one that would continue until they finally departed Mexico in the 1950s. Between assimilating the Mexicans into French ways, and putting them to work on the Nicaragua Canal, the French had nothing to spare to aid their own partial allies, the British.
The only action Britain took alone against the United States was in a long disputed area of the Pacific Northwest. Though the 49th parallel was the nominal border, there were still many British, and newfound Canadian, leaders who believed that the rightful border of the far west should be that of the Columbia River. On March 7, 1883, Royal (British) Navy sailed into Puget Sound and did battle with the American ships in port. By April, Royal Marines had seized control of Seattle. By February 21, 1884, the British Army crossed south of the Columbia and captured Fort Astoria. Aside from the lands west of the Columbia River, the British made no further intrusion into American territory. Within the states of Cuba, Durango, Kentucky and Virginia, a series of state-wide civil wars were fought. The pro-Confederate forces, though largely outnumbered by pro-Union and neutral factions, were better equipped and trained. Furthermore, the state militias were home to a majority of secessionists. Even after these states were ‘allowed’ to secede, violence continued onwards until the dawn of the 20th Century, resulting in states that were less free than America.
By early 1885, Britain and the Confederate States forced the United States to the peace table. After three years of war, American forces were completely on the defensive in Kentucky and Virginia. As per the Treaty of Boston2, the above mentioned states were allowed to join the Confederacy. Confederate government instituted laws that created a system of internal passports in the newly admitted states. In some cases, what could only be called secret polices were established to keep the dissident members of society into check. However, in the case of Cuba, which never had slavery under American watch, many of the black citizens were allowed, in fact encouraged by the C.S.A. to depart for the Union. Because Virginia was now a Confederate State, the American capital retreated permanently to Philadelphia.
The British, for their assistance, took the lands west of the Columbia River. With Seattle in their possession, coupled with their protectorate over Hawaii, the British were able to check American advances into the Pacific. Despite officials statements, the British were wary of a United America. They saw the United States as a rival, with a potentially unlimited industrial capacity.
For the second time in over twenty years, the United States took a critical hit to their national pride. The only outstanding victories in the Third Anglo-American War came in the Wild West. American cowboys, lawmen and outlaws fought of constant Confederate (and their Indian allies) raid into Nevada and Kansas. In return, a band of two thousand frontier’s men managed to capture Santa Fe in Arizona Territory. However, the fall of Santa Fe was more of a sacking than a conquest. The city was looted by apparently drunken cowboys.
National Reforms
Following the disastrous defeat of the Third Anglo-American War, the United States was confronted by a recently united Germany. Their own victory over the French in 18753 left Germany the preeminent power in Continental Europe4. Germany had much in common with the United States. Like the Americans, the Germans were surrounded by rivals and enemies; France in the west, and the Swedish Empire in the east. In the event of war, it was highly likely that either nation would come to the aid of the other, just as the British would aid the Confederates.
Unlike the United States, whose army consisted of mostly militia and poorly trained volunteers, the German Empire had a powerful, professional army. Again, unlike the United States, Germany lacked many native resources to support a first-rate world power. Germany expanded its colonial empire, from its 18th Century colony o Rio de la Plata, into Africa and the Pacific during the 19th. The United States had no need for a colonial empire, for it already had the resources within its own borders.
In 1887, the German ambassador approached the State Department with the proposal of an alliance. The Germans required raw materials, and the Germans knew that America required more order and discipline in its society. The Democrat Majority in Congress saw the advantages of an alliance, however, traditions of isolationism brought much debate. The recently established Socialist Party was against the alliance and apparent militarization of the United States. Many compromises would be reached as German methods were adapted to American society.
Once the alliance was ratified, a series of laws were passed during the 1890s aimed at strengthening America. In 1891, the American Draft Act, in which all men over eighteen years of age, regardless of color, must serve two years within their state’s militia (later National Guard). The goal of conscripting the population into the part-time army was that in the event of a major war, America would have a vast pool of trained men in which it could call upon. Conscription into the regular army could only happen, by law, in the event war was declared.
Training of the militia would be done by the regular army and its German drill instructors (at least until enough American sergeants could be trained as D.I.s). Militias would receive the same basic training as the regular army, and would be required to serve and train one week per month. They would also be called up in the event of emergency. Not only would America have a pool of reserves, but a sense of national pride would be ingrained into most of America’s men. Further laws were passed allowing women to take many of the non-industrial jobs that men would fill during peace time.
In 1892, the Rationing Regulatory Act passed by a narrow margin. It allowed for strict rationing when war is declared and, if need be, the temporary nationalization of key industries during the same period. These acts were favored by the Socialist Party, however they wished to extend government control over industry to all times. They used this debate to further their own causes.
The Socialist Party began back in the 1870s, during a second wave of industrialization in the United States. The divide between haves and have-nots vastly increased during this time, as did ramped exploitation of the workers. Attempts to unionize and strike by miners in Pennsylvania were usually put down by violent means. Some radical miners supported the overthrow of government. The majority turned to the newly formed Socialist Party to advance their causes.
Between 1864 and 1886, the United States was effectively a one-party state, with a constant Democratic presence in the Presidency and dominance of Congress. Following the Third Anglo-American War, and the Democrat’s rather jingoistic response, many of the American voters turned away from them. The Republican Party did not survive Lincoln on a national scale, though it still thrives in the Midwest to this date. The Depression following the Treaty of Boston caused the Socialists to meteorically rise on the national stage.
Another byproduct of the war was a wave of immigration into the United States, from the Confederate States. With the expansion of the land-owning aristocracy, small farmers left Texas and Oklahoma to try their luck in Kansas and Nebraska. Many of the immigrant families would have decedents that would deeply impact the history of the 20th Century. Names such as Eisenhower.
The Spanish War
The first test of the United States Army’s German-style training came in 1898. For a decade, the last Spanish colony in the Americas, Puerto Rico, waged a war of independence. Atrocities upon Atrocities were reported by journalists covering the war on the island. The sensationalist journalism did much to sell papers, and though the Spanish did execute rebels, it was far from the genocidal campaign reported. However, the fact that a colonial power was so close to the United States (not counting French rule in Mexico) outraged many in the public. Many felt it was America’s duty to liberate its fellow republic.
The debate in Congress and the streets was about whether America could defeat Spain. After two lost wars, the damage to America’s confidence remained. Many thought a quick war would do much to restore national pride. Furthermore, many in the government, including future President Theodore Roosevelt, believed in using the war in Puerto Rico as an excuse for a wider campaign to seize control of the Marianas. The United States already had control over Midway and Wake, both as coaling stations. The Marianas would extend American interests into the western Pacific.
America did, already, have interests on Puerto Rico. With Cuba under Confederate control, and many other islands in British hands, Americans held a sizable investment in Puerto Rico. With war tearing the island apart, sugar interests were hurting. Several American ships were sent to patrol the waters, to keep an eye on interests. Some claim that certain elements in power were attempting to incite a war. Whether this was true or not matters little, since on April 3, 1898, the U.S.S. Maine blew up off the coast of the island. The cause was a coal fire near the magazine, but at the time, the most plausible cause was a Spanish mine. As a result, three weeks later, Congress moved to declare war on Spain.
On May 1, Commodore Dewey, based in the German port of Tsaingpo, in China, received orders for his squadron and its marines to attack the Marianas and land on both Guam and Saipan. The small Spanish fleet based at the islands, mostly antiquated ships, were all but destroyed after a three hour battle. The Spanish governor of the Marianas surrendered to Dewey on June 12, 1898, after a short land campaign on Guam.
The war on Puerto Rico lasted for three months, most of the time was spent assembling the United States Army in Baltimore and New Amsterdam, and sailing down to the island. The Spanish fleet at Puerto Rico was trapped at San Juan for the duration, except for one sortie on June 4, where it was beaten back by American cruisers. Eighteen thousand Americans aided (rather ordered around) the rebels and defeated the ten thousand man Spanish garrison.
The war was an excellent test for the new reforms in the United States Army. Not counting the Indian Wars, the Army performed with better efficiency than any previous war. It also suffered proportionally fewer casualties, most of which were from tropical disease. The war was quick and victorious, and restored much of America’s pride to its people. The material rewards from the war came in the form of the Mariana Islands. The Spanish War was a test run for the Army, many lessons learned here would be applied to the two-front war that would break out fifteen years later.
The Cult of Lincoln
During his lifetime, Abraham Lincoln was vilified. Such character assassinations followed his death in 1866, and continued until after the Third Anglo-American War. By 1899, the intellectuals in academia began to reevaluate Lincoln’s contribution. His stance against the Confederacy and the British was considered visionary by 1900. He went from demonized to deified in the view of the public. Buildings, ships and cities were renamed in his honor. Even the capital of Nebraska, McClellan, was renamed Lincoln. His stance against the Confederate States would inspire future fights against the Confederacy.

The Kiat
April 5th, 2010, 11:22 PM
XIII) World Powers
(1900-1946)
Roosevelt Years
When Roosevelt became president, after McKinley was killed at the 1900 World’s Fair by an anarchists (the first president to be assassinated), he credited Lincoln in started the struggle against Southern Imperialism. If not for his stance, the southern states would be dictating the affairs of the entire country. During his first two terms (1900-1908) Roosevelt would build the country towards the war he knew was approaching. The United States joined the arms race that consumed a sizable amount of resources of both Britain and Germany.
Though he was a Democrat, Roosevelt fought against the large trusts that had a stranglehold on the nation’s economy. Monopolies in coal, steel, oil and rail were broken during his presidency. Though he was very aggressive in foreign affairs, he was the first president to be progressive domestically. Roosevelt’s history on fighting political corruption and business interests date back to his time as New Amsterdam Police Commissioner, and later governor of New Amsterdam. After his short bout in the Spanish War, Roosevelt returned to New Amsterdam to continue his fight. Enemies within his own party conspired to rid themselves of him, and thus the Democratic Party gave him the Vice Presidency in hopes of keeping him quiet.
Once in Philadelphia, Roosevelt did not stop fighting against both corruption and big business. Roosevelt’s fight against trusts was not so much out of compassion for the little guy, but he believed that strategic resources in the hands of a few went against National Interests. Furthermore, he was all for competition, and having the better business win. A wave of scandals within the Democratic Party during his presidency stemmed from those very trusts that were broken. Dozens of representatives and governors were financed by the likes of Standard Oil and JP Morgan.
In 1903, Roosevelt traveled to New Grenada (the first president to leave the country while in office) to negotiate the purchase of Panama. To prove how serious he was on the matter, he was accompanied by the United States Navy’s Carribean Squadron (based out of Port Lincoln, formerly Port Limon). Thousands of soldiers poured into Costa Rica to make the clear impression upon Colombia that Roosevelt would not take no for an answer. On October 8, 1903, the United States purchased Panama from New Grenada for fifteen million dollars. The acquisition was annexed to Costa Rica, and the United States entered a joint-venture with the Dutch Commonwealth in the construction of the Panama Canal1 (to rival the Entente controlled Nicaragua Canal).
Roosevelt, from his time in Montana, was keenly aware that the wild areas of America were rapidly vanishing. Though he did not establish the first National Park (that would be Yellowstone in 1871, he vastly expanded the concept of conservation in America. His views on equality in the law continued to push him out of Democrat favor. He even pushed a Constitutional Amendment through Congress that gave the vote to all men. He reasoned that if a man (black or Indian) could shed blood for his country, then he should vote for who ran the show. This by no means meant Roosevelt was color-blind.
By 1908, Roosevelt felt that he accomplished his mission and was set to retire. He hand picked his successor,2 William Taft of Ohio, his vice president. He believed Taft capable of maintaining the new status quo, but lacked the initiative to alter it. Roosevelt was proven wrong when Taft led the Democratic Party back to its business of supporting big business. They even rolled back many of the reforms Roosevelt championed. When 1912 came around, Roosevelt decided to run for a third term, and re-establish his legacy. When he tried to gain the Democratic nomination, he was quickly shot down.
Instead of giving up, Roosevelt left the party with many like-minded individuals and formed the Progressive Party. With no serious contender on the Socialist ticket, it was a fight against Roosevelt and Taft. With tensions rising in Europe, Roosevelt’s hard-line against America’s enemies clinched the election for him. In 1913, the Progressive Party took the presidency along with New England governorships, Senate seats, and sixty-three seats in the House of Representatives.3
The Zimmerman Telegram
On May 22, 1913, a telegram from German Minister Charles Zimmerman arrived at the War Department in Philadelphia. The election of a new king of Poland-Lithuania, between the cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the brother of King Charles XVII, was deadlocked for several weeks. Each time the vote came up, the German and Swede were tied. Growing in frustration, Germany, from where the previous Litho-Polish King originated, believed strongly that the House of Hollenzoren should retain the crown. In the Zimmerman Telegram, German’s main ally4 was given notice that if the deadlock was not broken within a month, Germany would decide for them and install a German on the throne.
With war appearing imminent, Roosevelt ordered the army and reserves mobilized. The mobilization was made over the course of the month, and never were more soldiers called-up at any given time to draw the suspicion of Britain, Canada or the Confederacy. All three began a partial mobilization as the crisis unfolded. However, they did not have their units in place, as did the United States Army. By June 18, two million American soldiers were in position along the Potomac, Ohio, Colorado and Columbia Rivers, along with the Great Lakes. On June 20, the American fleet sortied from Port Lincoln and Baltimore, both headed for Cuba.
For fifteen years, the War Department had planned for a future war with its traditional enemies. On June 22, the German Army invaded the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in an attempt to install a German on the throne. The next day, Sweden declared war upon Germany. Over the next four days, alliances were activated5. On June 25, Congress declared war on Roosevelt’s recommendation and War Plans Red and Gray were initiated.
The Great War
On June 26, 1913, in the early morning hours, the United States Army moved out against both Canada and the Confederacy on multiple fronts. At 06:00, the 2nd Army crossed the Potomac northwest of Alexandria. Confederates caught out in the open were destroyed by a six hour long artillery barrage at fortification on the Confederate side of the river. Two bridges were captured in tact that morning, allowing for the rapid deployment of over one hundred thousand men. The city of Alexandria was abandoned in favor of fortifications further south. An attempt by the Confederates to cross the river into Maryland met with only partial success. They captured several square kilometers of land south of Washington but failed to capitalize and were quickly bogged down.
In the north, the 4th Army crossed from Detroit into Canada, and began a march up the York Peninsula. British and Canadian ships sortied and laid siege to Fort Mackinaw. On July 2, the United States Great Lakes fleet engaged the British. The use of torpedo boats crippled two British battleships and sank a cruiser. American battleships finished off one of the enemy battleships and forced the second to retreat across Lake Huron. The Battle of Fort Mackinaw was the first large scale battle of the war, and by far not the last.
Americans advanced only three kilometers into Ontario before meeting heavy resistance. Trenches were dug by both sides, and the war in Ontario met with an early stalemate. On a positive note, part of the American 5th Army marched out of Lakoda at crushed the British garrison in the Red River Valley, a piece of land lost during the Second Anglo-American War. The 7th Army marched north out of Maine, almost following Arnold’s route of invasion from 1775, and reached the border of Quebec by July 15. The British withdrew most of their army around a series of fortifications in Nova Scotia, designed to allowed the Royal Navy to operate on the American side of the Atlantic.
Overall, the Royal Navy had little to fear from the Americans. One-on-one, the British could handle either the Americans or the Germans. The Admiralty’s greatest fear6 was that the Germans might break out of the North Sea and link up with the American Atlantic Fleet. With a vast colonial empire to protect, the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic concentrated on keeping the supply lines between Canada, Britain and Patagonia open, especially Patagonia. Beef from the South American colony feed the island and its expedition forces.
As the sun continued to rise over America, the 1st Army crossed the Ohio River in multiple places (yet failing to capture a single bridge). United States Navy gunboats were concentrated enough to keep the Confederates at bay as the army made a mad dash across the river. The city of Louisville was quickly cut off and put under siege (from which it surrendered on August 7). Under the command of John ‘Black Jack’ Pershing, the 1st Army proceeded inland, meeting fierce Confederate resistance during the Battle of the Tennessee River (July 3, 1914-October 21, 1914). The battle was typical of the Great War; one army would rush the enemy trenches, be beaten back and pursued, once back in their trenches they would gun down the enemy and start the attack anew. The battle ended with the Confederate Army running out of reserves and forced to give kilometer by bloody kilometer to the American advance. It is estimated that over two hundred thousand casualties (of which over twenty percent died) resulted from this battle, making it one of the bloodiest fought in North America. Tennessee River was also the first battle in North America to see the use of Chlorine.
Along the Colorado front, the 8th Army advanced into Arizona, taking Yuma on the first day. The Confederates placed little in the way of defenses along the Colorado River. However, an amphibious assault from California to Durango met with far more resistance. Catching the Confederate Pacific Fleet in Sinaloa, part of the American Pacific Fleet, along with three German cruisers which happened to be in San Diego when war was declared, fought the Confederate fleet for three days. The Confederate Navy was forced to withdraw north, further into the Gulf of California. By 1914, with tracks of the Durangan coast secured, the Confederate Pacific Fleet found itself bottled up for the duration of the war.
In the Pacific Northwest, the American 3rd Army crossed the Columbia River in multiple locations. The main thrust came from Portland and was directed northward. Several secondary thrusts crossed the river east of the Cascade Mountains at Richland, Georgetown, Wenatchee and Brewster. Each of these diversionary strikes were aimed at passes through the Cascades, though none ever expected the brigades to reach their targets, it was hoped that threat of a cross-mountain invasion of Seattle would draw of Canadian and British soldiers, too few of which were already in the area.
Due to the British Fleet in Vancouver North, Seattle and Pearl Harbor, and the Confederate Fleet in Sinaloa and possibly the French out of Mexico, the War Department drew forth a plan to drive the British from the Hawaiian Islands. As soon as war was declared, the majority of the American Pacific Fleet sailed for Hawaii, along with four brigades of marines. On August 3, the Americans met a combined force of British and Hawaiian ships off the coast of Maui. The Battle of the Maui Strait, Americans lost as many capital ships as the British. However, after losing their lone cruiser, the Hawaiian fleet, under the command of the Hawaiian Crown Prince, withdrew his fleet to Kona.
With the withdraw of the Hawaiians, the British tried to escape to Pearl Harbor. However, upon hearing of the plight of the Confederate Pacific Fleet, and France’s neutrality in the North American Theater, the British Admiral, Lord Dunbar, decided to move the fleet to Manilla and regroup, as opposed to risking entrapment in Pearl Harbor. The British garrison on the island put up a gallant fight, but by September, after the Hawaiians sued for terms, the British garrison on Oahu surrendered. The Hawaiian and British soldiers were marched off to prison camps, and the Americans made no attempt on any other of Hawaii’s islands.
Attrition
During 1914 and 1915, no great gains were made in North America, at least not as great as the explosive conquests of 1913. Along all fronts, British and Confederate forces were slowly ground away, and the United States Armies relentlessly pushed forward. That is not to be said the Entente was without its own success. For each two kilometers the Americans took, they were pushed back by one. In some places, the front did not advance for months on end.
The advent of armored cavalry, the ‘tank’ as the British called them, offered severe setbacks for America’s allies in Europe. However, due to U-boat and U.S. submarine activity, few tanks reached Canada. The Confederates built their own models, using British blueprints. Several of these tanks were released along the Potomac Front, pushing the Americans back several kilometers from the Rappahanock. In the Battle of Fredericksburg, the seven tanks managed to drive a wedge in American lines and allow limited Confederate advance, before the last tank was knocked out by artillery.
American tanks soon found their way to the battlefield in early 1915. These twenty-man lumbering behemoths were first sent to the Great Lakes Front, in an attempt to breakthrough British lines. Success was limited, as the last of the large tanks broke down some five kilometers away from the previous front. American forces captured several lines of Canadian trenches, only to confront secondary trenches behind those.
Chemical warfare was also introduced during the Great War. The 1st Army launched a barrage of chlorine canisters against the front north of Frankfurt. Such was the carnage, that a minor breakthrough did occur, only to be halted some twelve kilometers northwest of Lexington. Similar attacks were launched all along America’s fronts, and when word reached Europe, Germany was the first to copy the tactic.
Along the Columbia Front, 1915 saw great advances. America soldiers captured Olympia and were slowly closing in on Tacoma. Further south, Durango was back under American control, and its pro-Union government was reinstated. Western Arizona was fully under American control by the end of 1915, as was the island of Cuba. Amphibious landings in Cuba occurred early in the war in June of 1913. However, attempting to supply the Army in Cuba met with much hazards as it included sailing along Confederate Waters from Baltimore to Havana. Submarines, raiders and even airplanes took their toll on American convoys.
The attrition all changed after the Van der Weld incident, when a Swedish submarine sank a Dutch ship in waters the United Provinces claimed as its own. With Dutch entry into the war, the British ships aiding the Confederacy were quickly recalled to Britain to due everything in its power to prevent a blockade. With the Royal Navy defeated in the North Sea, the German High Seas Fleet was able to make it to the Atlantic.
However, it was not Dutch entry into the war that tipped the scales in favor of peace. Instead, it was several revolts within the aging Austrian and Ottoman Empires that brought about peace. Fearing the Red Revolutions would spread across their nations, the Germans and Swedes were first to agree to a cease-fire. Britain and France both saw this as a means to secure peace without losing face. However, France would be forced to give up land for peace; namely Alsace and Lorraine.
Theodore Roosevelt, nearing the end of his third term, wanted nothing more than to destroy the Confederate States. However, his health was failing and his allies talking peace with his enemies. He decided America too would seek peace, and preferably before he left office in 1917. The Treaty of Versailles was just the start of his legacy. In the treaty, Union governments would be restored to Durango, Cuba and Kentucky. The western half of Arizona would be annexed by the United States as Jefferson Territory, as would the northern portion of Virginia, as Lincoln Territory.
America was the only clear winner in a war where everyone else settled for status quo ante bellum. For the first time in fifty years, the American people could hold their heads high. The tradition enemies to both north and south had been defeated. The Confederate economy was in tatters and its military capacity broken. Victory over the Confederate States was only part of Roosevelt’s legacy, the greater part came with finally achieving peace with the British.
The Anglo-American Permanent Peace Treaty
Ratified only days before Roosevelt retired, the Peace Treaty reset relations between the two mightiest of English-speaking nations. The treaty had nine major points. 1) The northern border of the United States would have both northern Maine and the Red River Valley restored to the Union. The border would follow the 49th parallel to the Continental Divide, where it would then extend north to include all of the previous Oregon Country territory.7 2) The Great Lakes would be demilitarized.
3) Canada would be guaranteed right of passage through Québécois controlled waters. 4) The Grand Banks fishery would be neutralized, allowing fishing vessels from signatory nations free access. 5) Cession of the Bahamas to the United States in exchange for twenty-five million dollars. 6) Free Movement of nationals across the U.S., Canadian and Québécois borders, including extradition. 7) Rights of citizens in ceded territories would not be abridged. 8) Open (but not free) trade between the United States and British Empire. 9) A pact of non-aggression between signatory nations.
The treaty was so ground-breaking that it earned Roosevelt the Nobel Peace Prize (posthumously). No longer would the American people need to worry about the British trampling their rights again. America proved itself strong enough to take its place among the nations of the world. The United States did join the League of Nations (a product of another Peace Prize winner, Confederate President Woodrow Wilson), but the Confederacy chose instead to turn inward. As its main ally Britain had signed a peace treaty with its main enemy, the Confederates felt betrayed and grew isolationistic.
In addition to the Anglo-American Treaty, the United States had its own separate peace with the Kingdom of Hawaii. The debate raged shortly in Congress as to the fate of the island nation. Some advocated outright annexation of the island. With occupation of several former Confederate states and territory from Canada, there were too few soldiers to cover suppressing a hostile native population in the middle of the Pacific. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Navy wanted to secure Pearl Harbor as a base for the Pacific fleets. Securing just the harbor from a landscape of hostile peoples did not strike the Army as a good use of its own resources. As a compromise, the island of Oahu was annexed, with much of its native populace deported to other islands. Honolulu being the capital of Hawaii caused the kingdom to disintegrate. Maui and Kauai declared independence from Hawaii and soon sided with the United States. With the British gone, Hawaii itself turned to the Japanese for aid.
Economic Boom and Bust
Following the initial decline in economic performance following the release of so many men from arms, the United States’ economy rebounded as its trade spread to former enemies and expanded in the markets of allies. By 1930, only the Dutch Commonwealth exceeded the American economic might. The Great War broke, or at the very least damaged, many economies. Entire countries, such as the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires simply vanished, to be replaced by a largely impoverished Union of Balkan Socialist Republics.
The United States used its new World Power status to begin projecting its own power, mostly in the Caribbean, in several interventions. The most significant of the interventions came in New Grenada between 1925 and 1929. American forces aided local governmental forces in crushing a Red Revolution, and protecting local oil interests. With France draining Mexico of all of its resources, New Grenada, along with local supplies, accounted for America’s strategic reserves. Several companies were even allowed into the Confederacy to drill for oil in Oklahoma and Texas.
The Confederate States suffered a near complete economic collapse following the Great War. With millions of casualties, including nearly a million able-bodied men dead, the Confederacy was short on labor. So much so, its own black underclass began to fill positions once considered white-only work. Losing the war nearly bankrupted the country, and crippled industry. Once the war ended, factories began to close, and hundreds of thousands were without job. This, coupled with the demobilization of its entire army and navy, resulted in a decades long depression.
Many solutions rose to solve problems in the Confederate States, including its own native socialist movements. One such movement arose from the German immigrant population within the Confederacy, at first called the German-Confederate Bund, later shorted to simply the Confederate Bund. It was an extreme right-wing organization, branching off the National Socialist movement in Germany. The same bitterness that filled the German public because of its lack of victory filled the Confederate people because of their defeat. America’s ally and enemy did have one major similarity; both nations were ran by an aristocracy, a fixed class put into place by birth instead of merit. The Bund promised to remove them and place only those worthy of the position.
Shifting Alliances
In 1932, the National Socialists were voted into power in the German Empire, and within a year, they had seized control of the entire country, forcing the Kaiser and his allies into exile. A second German government was established in Rio de la Plata. The Fuhrer German government withdrew from its former alliances, and instead allied with Spain, under the newly restored Bourbon Monarchy. The Berlin-Madrid Axis severely shifted the balance of power in Europe, along with Sweden withdrawing from the Entente.
The Confederacy joined the Axis in 1936, and began to import large quantity of arms from its new allies. The Confederacy was largely agrarian in its economic base, even by the 1930s. Because the Manumission Amendment was repealed, slavery soon returned to the fields, and even the factories. All the white men were required for the new Confederate war machine. It was obvious to all, except the Bund ideologues and loyalists that the Confederate States could never stand up to the United States by 1940.
American aircraft, tanks and ships, along with ammunition were all domestically produced. The industrial sector, once confined to the north, was by 1940, spread out across the entire country. By the same year, it was already outproducing every country, again with the exception of the Dutch Commonwealth, in industrial output. At quickest estimate, only six months would be required to shift over to a war-based economy.
The Confederates hoped that Japan, a member of the Axis Powers by 1939, would divert significant resources from any Union assault. Japanese ships and soldiers based on Hawaii were poised to strike at Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. However, the Japanese focused most of their navy against the Dutch in Indonesia, Formosa and Hainan. The United States was but a secondary target to them, one they would be happy the neutralize.
What the Bund did not realize was that they were nothing but cannon-fodder for Fuhrer Germany. The National Socialists determined that the United States, backing the Kaiser’s forces, was the greatest threat to its objectives, even greater than Sweden. It was hoped that the Confederacy could keep the Americans busy for two years, while the Fuhrer Germans secured control over Fortress Europe. Confederate President Nathaniel Bedford, was but a pawn for greater powers.
The Greater Confederacy
The Bund’s plans were to establish a ‘Greater Confederate States of America’, comprising of lands lost during the Great War, along with traditional southern states (Missouri, Maryland and Delaware). Bedford was so convinced victory was possible, and so focused on his dreams, that he ordered the Confederate Army to draw up plans to defeat the Union. Much to his ire, most of the generals told the president it was impossible. All save one.
Though George Patton also believed victory difficult, he knew the Union would take at least six months to gear up. When war was imminent in Europe, the Confederate Army began to move into place. Patton’s plan was a three-prong invasion of the United States. The Eastern Army, which he would lead, would drive on Philadelphia. The Central Army would take Chicago, the great rail hub on the United States. The Western Army would drive out across Jefferson and into California, targeting the naval bases in San Diego and San Francisco. A fourth army would invade Cuba and the Bahamas.
On September 1, 1939, Fuhrer Germany invaded the Republic of Poland-Lithuania. Quickly the Entente declared war upon Germany. The Kaiser’s own navy sailed for Britain to aid its long-time enemies in retaking its homeland. The United States began to gear up for war, although Socialist President Franklin Roosevelt wished to exhaust all possibly diplomatic avenues before asking Congress to declare war.8 The last route of diplomacy would be closed on March 25, 1940.
The North American Theater of War
On March 25, the Japanese based on Hawaii launched their assault against Pearl Harbor. American warships were either sunk or crippled in the shallow harbor. Japanese soldiers began to land on Maui the next day. The sneak attack precipitated a declaration of war on Japan. However, it was not until April 1, that war would reach the people’s homes. At dawn of April Fool’s Day, Confederate bombers hit targets along their extensive frontier with the Americans. Every plane in the Confederate Air Force was launched against Union targets.
Of the initial targets, Cuba was hit hardest. Half the American aircraft were destroyed on the ground, and several ships were sunk in Santiago Harbor. The Confederate invasion force, under the command of General Holland ‘Howling Mad’ Smith, landed on Cuban shore on the following day. American forces on the islands, consisting of the 4th Marines, under the command of Colonel Marion ‘Duke’ Morrison, were pitifully small and forced to wage a guerilla war against the Confederate Marines. For several months, Morrison frustrated Smith’s attempts to secure the island, until several Army divisions, under the command of Dwight Eisenhower arrived to relieve the Marines.
Despite initial gains, Patton’s army quickly bogged down across Maryland. Since the Confederate Air Force failed to destroy the American Army Air Corp (it did, however, destroy units along the border, but that did not stop reinforcements from flying in), Confederate Panzers were targets of dive bombing and staffing runs. Partisans across Maryland made Patton’s advance more dangerous, for both Confederate and American alike. Any soldier captured was taken prisoner. Any civilian taking shots at the advancing Confederates was in turn shot on sight.
The Marylanders’ lives were not spent in vein. Each minute they held up Patton was another minute General Clive Arnold had to prepare his own defenses. He already predicted the route Patton would take, and set up his own defenses in wait around a small Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg. On July 1, 1940, the two armies clashed for an epic three day battle. Arnold’s use of M-18 tank destroyers bled the Confederate Armored Corp dry by the second day. Still, on the third day, Patton ordered one last charge against American positions. In June of 1940, very few had ever heard the name Gettysburg, but after Patton sounded the retreat, it was known to every American.
Compared to Patton’s invasion and fighting withdraw, the other two prongs of invasion were rather anti-climatic in scope. The thrust towards Chicago failed to even advance beyond Kentucky. American defenses, under the command of General Omar Bradley, were prepared shortly after the Great War. Though they were seldom updated, it was sufficient to slow the Confederate advance while the reserves and National Guards were called up for active service. The only attempt to cross the Ohio was at Paducah, and it was easily turned back by determined brigades of Illinois’s National Guard, and the Navy’s brown water fleet.
The western invasion fared even worse. It did succeed, however, in reaching California, for their was little in the way of settlement or defenses in Jefferson. However, when the Confederate vanguard crossed the Colorado River near Yuma, the bridges were blown behind it. The Confederate Army was scattered and destroyed between June and September of 1940, in a series of skirmishes along the California-Jefferson-Sonora borders. Fighting out west quickly devolved into decentralized guerilla warfare, before the United States 4th and 8th Armies could gather at Las Vegas and drive southeast.
The American counter-offensive slowly picked up steam, gradually driving the Confederates back across their starting positions by January 1, 1941. Though the war was far from over, there was some debate in both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Congress as to how to proceed. Do they attempt to negotiate an end to the war. The scale of devastation across the invaded territories almost nullified any argument for status quo ante bellum. The fact that Americans were rounded up and even enslaved by the Confederates (most chiefly by the Bund’s political officers) turned even Democrats into Hawks.9
The Bermuda Conference
On September 15, 1940, delegates from the United States, the Dutch Commonwealth, and the Kaiser met on the island of Bermuda to discuss a grand strategy for winning the war. Also there, lesser delegates from Quebec, the United Kingdom, Italian Federation and even Free French (those these later four would have only minor say in this first international conference of allies). The United States was fully committed to seeing the Kaiser restored to his throne in Berlin. The United Provinces agreed, but only because it would removed the Fuhrer’s forces occupying the United Provinces. However, the United States could not throw its full weight against the Axis, not while fighting Japan and the Confederacy. Especially the Confederacy. America and the Kaiser both agreed upon a Germany-first approach after the Confederacy was defeated. However, the Dutch Commonwealth had too many citizens under Japanese occupation to ignore that theater the way Germany could.
To this end, one point of the Conference was that the defeat of the Confederate States of America, the weakest Axis partner, was top priority. This would free up American resources to confront the foreign wars. When the Kaiser and Queen Juliana attempt to pledge soldiers to this end, the Americans refused. Days before the conference, Roosevelt met with top members of Congress to formulate their own plan.
War with the Confederates was a generation event, and each generation it grew more destructive. Roosevelt was determined that his nation should not have to go through another inter-state war in another twenty years. Unconditional surrender was called for, and the only peace treaty would be the full restoration of the Union. This being said, the Americans wished to keep it a clean fight, and felt foreign intervention might drive the Confederate States to even higher degrees of resistance.
Invasion of the Confederate States
By January of 1941, all the fighting in North America was happening with Confederate borders. The fighting was so fierce in the west, that Arizona and Chihuahua attempted to seek separate peace, despite the Confederate Constitutions allocating international negotiation to be done only by the Confederate Congress. When this happened, the Bund, and its secret police, seized control of both state governments, placing them under the direct control of Birmingham. Despite the western states’ perceived treason, the Confederates were always strong on the rights of the State, and to have the confederate government interfering sparked opposition to the Bund.
When Texas tried to secede from the Confederacy, in order to save its own citizens from the destructive war, the entire Texan State Assembly and Governor’s office were taken out an shot by Bund officers. The Bund was looking less and less like a return to glory and more and more like an instrument of repression. Even some of the Confederate Army’s top generals began to seek ways of ending the war, that might mean turning on their own government.
This was far from an endorsement of Union occupation. The Confederate States had been independent for almost eighty years, and preferred to clean up is house by itself. However, even before Operation Overlord, the Confederate army knew that peace would likely only be achieved after removing the Bund from power. Between January and March of 1941, three separate attempts were made on Bedford’s life. The Confederate President acted less like a president after each attempt, and more like an autocrat. On February 23, the Confederate Constitution was suspended.
During the early weeks of March, the Confederate Army believed it would be possible to force the Union into a negotiated peace if they could simply dig in and make the war a repeat of the Great War. Even then, Bedford would still have to be removed. He refused anything less that ascendancy for peace. On March 19, the Confederate Army was stretched to its limits in Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas. If they could hold these fronts, then the plotters’ plot can come to fruition.
What happened the next day dashed any hopes of a negotiated peace. On March 20, 1941, Operation Overlord was initiated, when one hundred thousand soldiers, under the command of General Eisenhower, landed on the Gulf Coast between Mobile and Tallahassee. The primary objective of Overlord was to secure the port of Pensacola. After the city fell, two weeks into the fight, a rapid advance on Confederate Highway 10 to Jacksonville succeeded in cutting Florida off from the rest of the nation.
Overlord was the beginning of the end for the Confederate States. Though American supply lines were spread thin. Bradley’s army broke through defensive lines in Tennessee and drove into Alabama, taking the Confederate capital of Birmingham on April 18. Eisenhower and Arnold linked up in northern Georgia during mid-April, bottling up Patton and the remainder of the Army of Northern Virginia in Atlanta.
Shortly after the fall of Birmingham, the Bund government ordered the army to disband and take the fight into the hills, to make the Americans pay for each mile they take. Had the plan to devolve the war into a guerilla war succeeded, the occupation of the Confederate States would have been a bloody affair, and pacification might well have taken an extra twenty years. Before the order could be issued, several Confederate generals confronted Bedford and his cronies, arresting and removing them from their offices.
From April 25, onward, the Confederate generals attempted to negotiate a cease fire with the Americans. Roosevelt made it clear to the successful coup that there was nothing to negotiate, the Confederate States much surrender without condition. Each day they delayed, more devastation was met upon Confederate cities. The junta gave a general order for all Confederate soldiers to lay down arms. The order went out on May 5, after two weeks of trying to remove the most dangerous of Bund officials still in power. Hundreds of mid-level bureaucrats went to ground, and were not all rounded up until well into the 1950s.
The last holdout, Atlanta, surrendered on May 8, 1941. When Patton surrendered to Arnold, he made it clear that he was laying down arms to spare his soldiers, and if it were just him, he would fight until he bled his last drop of blood. Despite the fact that Patton was the architect of the invasion, he was not charged in the Charleston Trials10. In exchange, he went into exile, promising never to return home. At first, he stayed in New Grenada as an advisor, but when the Balkan Wars erupted, he hired himself out to the Greeks as their chief-of-staff.
Despite the war in America ended with the surrender of Atlanta, years would pass before the Confederate States were dismantled and the Union restored. The first Confederate State to be readmitted, Louisiana, was not so until 1947. Confederate state governments were suspended, the entire area was put under martial law, and the process of ‘de-bundification’ commenced. The United States Army would swell to ten million during the whole war, but over four million were required to hold the Confederate states. In order to augment these losses, Congress voted for the formation of the American Foreign Legion. The Foreign Legions allowed former Confederate soldiers a way to American citizenship, in exchange for service in Europe11 or the Pacific.
The Pacific Theater of War
While the conquest of the Confederate States was under way, the United States lost the Marianas, Wake and Midway to the Japanese. Their only major holdout in the Pacific, Oahu, was under siege for over a year. Americans could fight but a delaying and holding action during the first thirteen months of the Hawaiian Islands Campaign. The Japanese also possessed a minimal force in the island, comprising solely of its navy. A carrier battle group along with several battalions of special landing troop.
The American and Japanese navies battled each other in a long war of attrition over the islands. The Battle of Maui and Battle of Molokai saw the lost of three American carriers (the Lexington, Hornet and Wasp) where as the Japanese only lost two carriers. However, the loss in trained pilots and crews hurt the Japanese far worse than any material losses. The Americans held the material advantage, able to outproduce the Japanese in ships. Though the George Washington class carriers were still a year from coming off line, the defeat of the Confederacy allowed the transfer of five carriers to the Hawaiian Islands (the Enterprise, Yorktown, Saratoga, Ranger and Valcour Bay).
The Japanese began their withdraw from Hawaii in early 1942, though not completely due to American successes in the islands. Mounting losses in their war against the Dutch forced the Japanese to divert forces and abandon its ally. Without the Japanese Navy, the Hawaiians on Oahu surrendered to the Americans and their allies. A joint invasion involving both Kauai and Maui forced the Hawaiian king to come to terms with the other islands and the Americans. Kauai and Maui were responsible for occupying Hawaii while the Americans moved westward.
During 1942, both Midway and Wake were brought under American control with the minimal of resistance. Wake was abandoned by Japan, and Midway only had a listening post. Neither islands were considered worth holding when the whole of Indonesia was in contest. Significant more resistance was found in the Marshalls and Gilberts, both German possessions. To retake the Marianas, the United States Navy activated War Plan Yellow, which called for taking stronghold after stronghold until the way to the Marianas were secure.
Japan’s strategy against the Americans was similar. It called for a war of attrition across the Central Pacific, before a decisive naval battle off the Marianas. This battle did happen in June of 1944. The Battle of the Philippine Sea saw the destruction of what remained of the Japanese Navy’s capacity to wage war, losing several hundred aircraft and six carriers. Though they were quickly defeated at sea, on land, the Japanese claimed the lives of ten thousand American soldiers in the three months it took to reconquer Guam, Tinian, Rota and Saipan.
America undertook joint invasions of Formosa and Okinawa with the Dutch Commonwealth in November 1944 and April 1945 respectively. With each battle across both islands, the death toll steadily rose. The closer to Kyushu the Allies marched the harder the Japanese fought. After the bloodbath of Okinawa, planners for the invasion of Japan knew that the invasion force would be up to their neck in blood; their own.
Over the course of the war, several nations raced to develop a fission weapon. America was ahead of other nations in its own Atomic Bomb program, and the first such fission device was tested in the Nevada desert on July 15, 1945, yielding some twenty kilotons of TNT. The first actual bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. A second bomb detonated over Nagoya three days later. One hundred fifty thousand Japanese were killed in the attacks, and on August 15, the Japanese Emperor announced to his people they must face the unthinkable (he never used the word surrender in his speech. On September 2, the Japanese surrendered in Tokyo Bay on board the carrier Enterprise.
The European Theater of War
America’s first major engagement in the European Theater actually took place in North Africa. American forces, under the command of Eisenhower, joined British, German and Dutch contingents in Operation Torch. No Americas remained behind to garrison the liberated colonies, and again took place in the invasions of both Spain and Italy. Two hundred thousand Americans took part in the war to liberate Italy, with only a few tens of thousand fighting in Spain.
The largest invasion involving Americans (though not the largest American invasion of the war) took place on June 6, 1944, from the shores of the nation’s long time enemy, Britain. A Dutch lead invasion of Europe, using modified parts of the Dutch War Plan Tulip12, landed on the shores of Normandy. Taking part in the invasion was the 101st Airborne Division, the Warbling Turkeys. In this division was the 231st National Guard Regiment, out of Iroquois13. The regiment consisted almost solely of Indians, who went into battle in a more traditional manner. Instead of bayonet, they brought along tomahawk. It was a practice that many non-Indian regiments embraced.
The 101st spearheaded many other American campaigns, including the Ardennes, crossing the Rhine, and aiding the Kaiser’s forces in forcing the Fuhrer’s forces to surrender in the Wesser pocket. Overall, the European Theater saw proportionally fewer casualties than North American and the Pacific. The Japanese did not surrender, and the Confederates hated their American cousins far more than any German (no matter his faction) could. The war in Europe, the last theater, ended when Berlin fell to the Swedes on April 20, 1946.

The Kiat
April 5th, 2010, 11:36 PM
XIV) Restoration
(1946-onward)
Reconstruction
Bringing the Southern states back into the Union proved to be a far more formidable challenge that first believed. Some in Congress wondered if it was even worth the effort. With the exception of the Bund, whose surviving top members were either executed or sentenced to long terms in prison, the southerners kept their own political parties. The Democratic Party, who was far more socially conservative than either Progressive or Socialist, saw many prominent southerners joined its ranks. This caused much discontent among the fiscal conservative Democrats, who broke away to form the Libertarian Party in the 1970s.
The level of poverty in the south, coupled by the devastation inflicted by a short and brutal war, forced the loyal Union states to subsidize reconstruction for decades. Another issue to address were millions of recently re-liberated slaves. In the 1930s, the Manumission Amendment was repealed by the Confederate Congress, as the Bund reinstated slavery, and though it lasted for less than a decade itself, it is still the source of tensions between black and white in the south to this day.
Northerners feared a black diaspora, were black refugees would flood northern cities. Many blacks did migrate north during the war, after the Confederate surrender, to take over factory positions abandoned by potential men-at-arms. Many of the Confederate blacks flooded black American neighborhoods, especially in Haarlem after war’s end. The industrial cities of the north also saw an increase in black population. There was a great concern over the fact that they might not assimilate into American society. These fears were unfounded, for the black southerners proved to be more loyal and cooperative than their white counterparts.
All white men within former Confederate states were subjected to loyalty tests. Those who served in the American Foreign Legions were already American citizens, but the civilian populace proved far more difficult to administer. If anything, it was Dixie, not former slaves, that took decades to assimilate into the fusion of European and West African (along with native influence) that comprised American culture. This was most extreme when southern Representatives and Senators returned to the capital. In 1950, as a symbol of reunification, the capital returned to the city of Washington.
In 1952, the southerners fielded their first candidate for United States President, South Carolina statesman Strom Thurman on the Democratic ticket. Though he carried the southern states, he was easily defeated by Progressive candidate, Dwight Eisenhower. Despite not winning a single electoral vote from the southern states readmitted at the time, Ike still had a plan to reunite the nation. His pet project was called the Interstate Highway and Commerce Act. When passed in Congress, the act allowed for the construction of a network of freeways to allow rapid transportation of military and commercial traffic across the country. In twenty years, over ten thousand miles of freeway were laid down across the restored United States.
In reunited the nation, the Progressives continued with their closed border policy. With the task of integrating millions of former Confederates at hand, the nation could not afford to allow an influx of immigrants. The most extreme of hard-core confederates were former Bund hold outs, along with a new fraternity of southerners. Called the Ku Klux Klan, the pro-white anti-black brotherhood started out as a social club, but soon devolved into a violent, terrorist organization, that still plagues the south.
The Great Society
In 1960, the Socialists returned to the White House (quite literally the first presidents to return to the presidential mansion since the 1880s). On the top of their list of objectives was a program called the Great Society. In principle, the program was designed to bring unity back to the nation. In reality, it conflicted with Progressive goals of assimilation. It also reopened the borders, in hope of enriching American culture with an influx of foreigners.
Immigrants brought with them many of the problems of their former homelands. Immigrants from the former Balkan Union were under suspect, for concern, even with the Socialists, that they might bring their violence with them. No such ethnic war erupted in the urban jungles of Boston, Philadelphia or New Amsterdam. Most put aside any age-old hatred and tried to build a new life in a far more peaceful land.
Similar instability in Latin America sent hundreds of thousands fleeing north in the United States. After ninety years of French rule, Mexico was once again free. Like many former colonies, it quickly plunged into civil war as factions, many driven by the drug trade, vied for power. Many fled north, and were welcomed by the Kennedy administration as refugees escaping potential retribution. However, many of the Mexican refugees refereed to themselves as exiles and made no attempts to join American society. A small percentage of the refugees were gang-connected and were responsible for introducing Latin American drugs into America’ inner cities.
On a positive note, the Kennedy Administration put forth the plan to land a man on the moon. Several other nations joined in the race to the moon, most importantly Sweden and the Dutch Commonwealth. Though the Americans were not first in space, they were first to land on the moon. On July 20, 1969, American astronaut James Lovell was the first man to walk on the moon. However, unlike the Dutch, the Americans quickly turned inward, where as the Commonwealth established Fort Recife on Luna.
In 1964, Kennedy was killed in an automobile accident in Martha’s Vineyard, and his vice president, Lyndon Johnston became the first southerner to take the presidency since the 19th Century. He furthered the Socialist policies in unrestricted immigration. With the border now wide open, cities along the southern border faces a spike in crime as Mexican drug lords extended their reach into Houston, Los Angeles and Sinaloa.
Not even Johnston’s attempt to rid the nation of poverty could save him in 1968, when his own party passed him over for nomination, instead choosing Robert Kennedy for the ticket, who won by a clear margin. However, his policies were the party’s and he did not fare better in cleaning up the rapidly deteriorating cities. In 1972, the American voters rejected the Socialists, and picked Democrat Richard Nixon as president, who swore to clean up the mess. Instead, the Democrats, who were always supported by big business, left the borders open to cheap immigrant labor. Little changed, and in 1976, America decided it was time for a change.
The New America
The change came in the Progressive Party candidate, James Dean. Dean was best known to his nation for his acting career following the end of World War II. Dean was far too young to have served in the war, so instead he took on various anti-Confederate roles in movies about both the Great War and World War II. Many of the socio-political problems within the United States were blamed on the southerners, especially Johnston. One such conspiracy theory of the day stated that border policy was directly controlled by the remaining land owner in the south, as a means to procure cheap labor.
Like all Progressives, Dean was progressive on social issues, but very nationalistic, and believed America should stay American, and this could not happen while the front door was left open. Once in office in 1977, Dean ordered tens of thousand of soldiers to the southern border to close it, and sent the Justice Department to find and deport the millions of illegal immigrants in the country. The Progressive Party controlled numerous state assemblies, and during the backlash of the Seventies and Eighties, amended constitutions to make English the official language. This meant that all government business must be transacted in English, and English only. Further laws were passed at the national level imposing tariffs and many imports, much to the free-traders in the Democratic Party dismay.
By sealing the border, Dean took away post-colonial Mexico’s only outlet for dissension. The Mexican government, through it various lobbies tried to fight the Progressive’s plans. This angered Dean to no end, the fact that a foreign nation was so intrusive into America’s internal affairs. In reply to the demands, Dean was heard saying that the United States had battled and defeated many of the World’s greatest powers, and were not about to take any (guff) from a pipsqueak, post-colonial dump. Unfortunately, this was said while in a meeting with Mexico’s ambassador. During the tense exchange, the ambassador proclaimed that Mexico will take back the lands that were stolen1. In response, Dean told him that if Mexico tried, then he would take the other half of their country away, and they would have no country at all.
Open borders were more than just an influx of people. In the 1970s, the great problem in American cities was crime. Crime fueled by the trade of narcotics. Drugs from Mexico, New Grenada and Bolivia flowed across the border between 1965-1975 almost unimpeded. The anti-drug agencies created during the Nixon administration could do little since the cartels were too heavily armed. Worse still, corruption was so rabid in Mexico, that the cartels bribed police, politicians and even units of the Mexican Army. On the night of August 12, 1978, one such run of drugs, escorted by ‘bought’ units of Mexico’s army, crossed the border in Durango. The convoy was intercepted by the U.S. Army and a firefight ensued. The convoy was destroyed, but two American soldiers were killed.
The fact that American blood was spilled defending American land outraged the people. Dean ordered an immediate response. Units of the Army based in Costa Rica, Durango and Texas crossed into Mexico on search-and-destroy missions, in an attempt to wipe out the drug trade along its border. Dean even went as far as to ask Congress to declare a state of war. The tensions and bloodshed served as a way to root out those immigrants (that came here legally) that had any loyalty to ‘their country’. More than half the first-generation citizens who were born south of the border supported Dean. They did not wish to see any ‘reconquest’ and moved to America to become American and pursue the American dream, and above all, to escape the corruption and poverty of Mexico.
War was not declared, but that did not stop the War Department from setting up ‘policing zones’ one hundred miles within the border. Aside from destroying the drug cartels and rooting out corrupt officials, the zones were used to resettle deportees and set up a economic climate to keep them there. So successful were the zones, that when Mexico finally descended into civil war (without the outlet of dissent) in 1979, these zones were the only peaceful part of the country. With the old regime deposed, various factions fought for control of Mexico until 1992.
Dean’s actions were not without price. While speaking before a crowd in San Diego during his campaign for re-election, Dean was gunned down by a survivor of the Mexican drug cartel. On March 1, 1980, James Dean was the second American President to be assassinated. The backlash against the Mexican community was immediate. The American southwest was consumed by anti-Mexican fever. States that still allowed Spanish as a second language were quickly amended2. This period in the early 1980s was the only time the United States saw emigration, as hundreds of thousands fled to South America and even Spain.
America Today
At the dawn of the 21st Century, the United States still maintains its closed border society, and allows for some of the highest tariffs in the world, though tariffs with friends (such as Germany and the Dutch Commonwealth) were relatively low. Its industrial might is second to none, and its military might only exceeded by the combined output of the Dutch Commonwealth. Though the nation remains at peace and isolates itself from international affairs, dwindling resources around the world will eventually force it into conflict with other world powers as the 21st Century drags onward.

The Kiat
April 10th, 2010, 06:05 PM
XV) Balkan Union
(1916-1948)
Balkan Revolution
The Great War pushed two ancient empires to their breaking points and beyond. It is highly unlikely that the Balkan Revolution would have been successful had the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ottoman Empires not have already bled themselves white. This single event altered the face of Europe more drastically than any event in centuries. Out of the ashes of two ancient empires came the experiment in communism.
Causes
The causes of the Balkans Revolution are many, and stretch out decades before the last year of the Great War. Chief among them is the partition of the Balkan Peninsula between the Austrians and the Ottoman Turks1. Nationalistic and Pan-Slavic sentiments alone would have inevitably lead to uprisings, as it had during the 19th Century. During the same century, the doctrines of Marx and Engels reached across Europe. Marx always predicted that the socialist revolution would take place in the industrial west.
Though industrialization barely reached the Balkans at the beginning of the 20th Century, suppression of the workers was not the reason communism took hold. For three centuries, the bulk of the Orthodox Balkans were held under the thumb of Muslim Turks. Though some peoples, such as in Bosnia and Albania, eventually converted, the majority of the Balkan people were subject to the Jizya (religious tax for non-Muslims) and oppression that came about as result of the rise of nationalism during the 19th Century. In response to rebellions in Greece in 1848 and Serbia in 1878, entire towns and cities were depopulated, their inhabitants forcefully relocated, and in rare instances, enslaved. Along with slavery, forms of serfdom were still found in the Balkans up to the eve of the Balkan Revolution.
Reforms following the Napoleonic War sought to spread a uniformity across the Ottoman Empire. Before the reforms, the Orthodox and Catholic populations were governed by their own codes of law, using their own languages. The reforms sought to standardize laws across the Ottoman Empire, as well as imposing Turkish as the sole official language. In many cases, the Ottoman government tried to force assimilation.
North of the Danube, problems leading to the Balkan Revolution were opposite of the Turks. The Austro-Hungarians Empire lacked any cohesion, to the point that its army was comprised of ethnic units. Outside of Austria and Hungary, the majority of the Empire was impoverished, with taxes ruining the provinces. In both cases, the subject populace were treated as less than the ruling ethnicities. This inequality is also a leading contributor to the Balkan Revolution. Marxism’s supposed doctrine of equality and of a classless society appealed to the educated in the Balkans.
During the Great War, these subject populations found themselves fighting and dying for their rulers in Vienna and Constantinople. The Ottoman Empire joined the Great War by declaring war on both Austro-Hungarian and Swedish Empires on September 7, 1914. With its entry, the war in the Balkans became a three-way struggle, with the Balkan peoples caught in the middle. The peasants under both Austrian and Turkish rule were conscripted and found themselves fighting over their own land for foreigners. The Austrians overran much of Serbia by the start of 1915. Belgrade was fought over in three separate battle between the Ottoman’s entry into the war and the Belgrade Uprising.
Like the French Revolution, the Balkan Revolution was formulated not by the masses of peasantry, but rather by the middle class and educated. In these circles, Marxism was all the rage, with talks of abolishing classes and privileges and turning their respective empires into socialist federations of equals. Some nationalist cells simply wished to break away from their long time overlords and not look back. In the underground movements that formed since the start of the 20th Century, the Marxist infiltrated all but a handful.
The founder of the Union of Balkan Socialists Republics is a Serb named Peter Karadordevic. Born in Belgrade on June 29, 1844, into a minor functionary family, Karadordevic had no want. In 1870, he spent several years in Paris, where he was introduced to the philosophies of Karl Marx. The idea of a classless society appealed to him. The middle class of the Balkans were enthralled by socialism, and they would eventually form the bureaucracy of the Balkan Unions.
Karadordevic served in the French Army during the Franco-Prussian War. After the defeat of France, he left the army and returned to his homeland to ferment revolutionary fever. He called for a Serbia ruled by Serbians. His participation in the 1895 Revolution saw his family’s estates seized by the Turks and himself exiled. He returned from exile in Vienna in 1903 under the alias of Mrkonjic, where he founded the Serbian People’s Party. From 1904 to 1916, the Party was outlawed by the Ottoman Empire, with suspected members facing imprisonment and even being sold into slavery.
With the Great War sending millions of young Europeans and Americans to an early death, the loosely confederated International Brotherhood of Workers began to take action. Their propaganda brought more members into their ranks, and angered the lower classes. The I.B.W. created a class division across Europe, strongest in the Balkans. The idea of wealthy industrialists and arms manufacturers pushed corrupt governments to wage war in order to increase the shareholder’s profits feed the conspiracy machine. The poor, certainly the non-German or non-Turkish poor began wondered why they were fighting.
For the Slavs of the Balkans, the question was why was brother fighting brother in the name of non-Slavic peoples. The image of the Red Revolution as a Pan-Slavic device would play into the future of the Union, and its demise, along with some of the great atrocities of the 20th Century. The first shots of this Slavic socialist revolution would take place in Belgrade, on the border between empires.
Belgrade Uprising
By February of 1916, both the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empire battled to the point of exhaustion. Since its fall in 1914, the Turks made no serious attempt to retake Belgrade, which they called Dar al Jihad. The city fell to an Austrian assault shortly after the Ottoman Empire declared war upon them. Its situation, on the Danube River, which in turn served as border between the two dilapidated empires made it contested in the centuries past. The land of the Serbs was long since divided between the two empires, and during the Great War, Serb fought Serb in the armies of opposing Empires.
With both Empires war weary, the leader of the Serbian People’s Party, Peter Karadordevic, sensed an opportunity to throw out the hated Austro-Hungarians and secure for the peace-loving peasants and workers2 of Serbia their freedom. Karadordevic and his fellow Serb Revolutionary, Dusan Simovic spent the last months of 1915, smuggling in arms and caching ammunition in the neighborhoods of Belgrade. They each headed a division of the Serbian Worker’s Liberation Army, with several thousands in each division.
On February 12, 1916, the first blow of the Balkan Revolution was thrown in Darcal neighborhood, when a cell lead by Gravilo Princip, launched a grenade attack on Austrian Field Marshall Oskar Potiorek, killing him and the other passengers of the staff car. Within an hour, a bombings killed patrolling Austrian soldiers, and destroyed their post office, killing the Post Master. Simovic lead an assault against the Austro-Hungarian 3rd Army’s headquarters, capturing the building and massacring its occupants.
By February 15, Belgrade was under the control of S.W.L.A. and the victors began to dish out revolutionary justice. Any person in Belgrade suspected of collaborating with the Austrians was summarily executed. In some estimates, over 5,000 Serbs were victims of this justice in the few days Belgrade remained ‘free’. The revolutionary army quickly degraded into a mob, attacking any institution, business or even building that represented the old order of the Sultans or Habsburgs, including the Ottoman built University of Belgrade. The University was raised and captured professors were executed as collaborators and traitors.
Belgrade’s liberty was short lived. After hearing of the uprising and assassination of the Army’s Field Marshall, that the Austrian General Chief of Staff Count Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, released reserves from the Ottoman Front for immediate redeployment to Belgrade. By March 3, 50,000 Austrian soldiers, including many Croatian, Slovakian and Bosnian units, had the city encircled. After two days of siege, the Austrians stormed Belgrade.
Knowing immediately that holding off the attack was impossible, Karadordevic ordered the S.W.L.A. to scatter, and continue the struggle in the countryside. Of the estimated 13,000 revolutionaries, only 3,212 are known to have escaped. The two leaders of the uprising where among the escapees. Simovic escaped across the border in Sarejavo, and Karadordevic escaped across the front lines (some said smuggled in a coffin), down the Danube and into Sofia. It is from these two cities that revolutionary flames were fanned.
Fanning the Flames
The seeds of two more uprisings, more succesful uprisings, hatched on March 15, 1916. When Karadordevic and Simovic reached their respective destinations, they contacted cells of revolutionaries that were poised to act once Belgrade was free. Pieces were moved into place. By the time similar uprisings were in place across the Balkans, the Belgrade Uprising was thoroughly crushed. On March 13, Karadordevic contacted the Bulgarian People’s Army, ordering the uprising to take effect. Simultaneously, Simovic launched the uprising in Bosnia.
In the early hours of March 15, the Bulgarian People’s Army and Bosnia Liberation Front launched attacks against the garrisons of Sarejavo and Sofia. The Turkish garrison in Sofia was massacred after their surviving high ranking officer surrendered. During the uprising, Albanian units in the garrison switched sides, descending on their Ottoman overlords. The success of the Sofia Uprising sparked off rebellion across Bulgaria and Wallachia. In the streets of major towns, Ottoman governors and mayors were victims of Revolutionary justice.
By March 19, the lower Danube was completely under the control of the Revolution. The Bulgarian People’s Army and Wallachian Liberation Army decisively defeated an Ottoman army at Serevin, near the Serbian border. The Austro-Hungarian Army attempted to exploit this rebellion, which caused the uprising in Sarejavo to succeed. Serbians in Sarejavo linked with surviving units of the Serbian Worker’s Liberation Army, and spread the revolution into Zenica and Tuzla.
On March 21, 1916, in Sofia and Bucharest, Revolutionaries declared independence from the Ottoman Empire, establishing the Bulgarian and the Wallachian People’s Republics. On March 22, the Bosnians declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Bosnian Socialist Republic entered into an alliance with Wallachia and Bulgaria, and launched an invasion into Serbia. Both Austrian and Turkish armies inside Serbia were trapped by the invading Revolutionaries. Bulgarian units in the Ottoman Army rose up, killing their Turkish officers and captured much of the artillery.
Ante Trumbic, leader of the Croatian Socialist Army, captured Zagreb on March 28. He was a colonel in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and a member of the International Brotherhood of Workers. Once Bosnia declared its independence, Trumbic and his Croatian legion mutinied along the Balkan Front and marched on their homeland. Along with thousands of soldiers, a Croatian squadron flying Petrel D. IVs based in occupied Serbia joined Trumbic’ mutiny.
Greek Mutiny
While ethnic units were defecting and mutinying in piece meal, on April12, the entire Greek contingent in the Ottoman armed forces rose up against the Turk. Revolutionaries in Athens, Thessaloniki and even Constantinople drove the Turks out, forcing the Sultan across the Bosporus. Soon after, the Greeks declared independence with the Revolutionaries declaring a Hellenistic Socialist Republic. In the Ottoman Navy, Greek officers and sailors took control over several ship, including the Battleship Sultan Selim (which was renamed Leonidis).
Ottoman loyalist, under the command of Turkish Admiral Musha Seydi Ali intercepted the mutineers at their assembly point off the coast of Rhodes. Under the command of Pavlos Konstantinos, a high ranking member of the Greek Communist Party, two Revolutionary battleships, four cruisers and seven destroyers engaged a Loyalist force of nearly double the size. Key to winning the battle, Konstantinos credited the defection of several ships during the battle. The Crimean executive officer of the Turgut Reis seized control of the battlecruiser during the middle of the fight and turned its two hundred fifty millimeter guns on Seydi’s flagship, killing the admiral and effectively breaking the back of the Ottoman Navy. Since the ethnic content of the Ottoman Navy had a disproportionally high number of Greek and Crimean sailors, the surviving Turkish ships were held up in port while the Ottoman government commenced purging it of revolutionary elements.
Fragmentation
By May 1, 1916, the armies of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empire were in an advanced state of decay. Forces were pulled away from the fronts to deal with ethnic uprisings and revolution. The state of Austria was in crisis by May 4, when a combined force of the Hungarian Revolutionary Army and the Croatian Socialist Army crossed the frontier into Austria Proper. Loyal Austrian soldiers were pulled from the front with the Ottomans (who had their own problems) and from the Swedish Front (who took advantage of the Revolution to push into Crimea and Moldova).
Two events prevented Vienna from falling to the Revolutionaries. One was the fact that discipline within the Hungarian and Croatian armies were poor, and the soldiers took to pillaging towns and seeking revenge for centuries of oppression. The second factor was that the Kaiser saw the writing on the wall and ordered units of the German Army to occupy German Austria along with Bohemia, to prevent the Revolution from spreading into Bavaria. At this point, the Germans had no intention on reconquering the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Instead they sought to contain the revolutionary plague well outside the Fatherland.
By July, the situation within the armies of both empires is utter chaos. No longer do the Turks or Austrians have an army. Austrian and Turkish units within their respective armies have abandoned the front lines and have retreated into their heartlands to defend their homes and families from the vengeance the repressed people tend to deliver. The newly formed Hungarian army, under the command of Revolutionary Zoltan Tildy, has even stepped beyond the Balkans and made incursions into Poland-Lithuania.
End of Empires
With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Empire relocated its own soldiers from the Eastern Front (since Sweden was having its own problems with Revolutionary incursions into the Ukraine) to hold on to German Austria and Bohemia. The German Empire would annex both of these territories. The German Army would clash with Croatian forces under the command of Ivan Mestrovic. Mestrovic was born in Split in 1883. Through most of his early life, he dabbled in the arts, and even trying his hand at sculpting.
In 1905, his career was cut short when he found himself conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. Like many Croatians, he resented having to serves masters in Vienna, even if he would not have minded attending art academies there. It was while in the army that he met Ante Trumbic. It was from Trumbic that he became enthralled by socialism and the ideas of classless society, though he was never a member of the I.B.W. His Revolutionary zeal grew during the Great War, and more so when the Ottomans entered the war. He saw the injustice of his people dying for aristocratic elites and arms dealing capitalist in Vienna.
When the Revolution came, Mestrovic found himself thrust into a position of authority. It was not a position he wanted; after all, he only wished to be an artist. However, it was a position that he excelled. Mestrovic was not so much a tactician as a leader of men. He lead by example and his fellow Croatians would follow him into battle. He also had sense enough to listen to his inferiors in rank, especially since they knew more about tactics than he. One of his advisors had even attended the Military Academy in Vienna.
With charisma to lead and sense to listen, Mestrovic is known as one of the greatest Revolution. His victory over the German Army while at Graz. The Croatians took the city on July 17, after defeating a weak Austrian garrison. On July 30, the German Army sent a division against the Croatians defenses. The Croatians captured enough machine guns to turn back the German assault, forcing them into their own network of trenches. For the moment, it appeared a new front would form during the Great War.
Cease Fire
On August 2, 1916, German, Sweden and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth agreed to a cease fire in order to combat the Revolutionaries within their respective territories. The Austro-Hungarian Empire ceased to exist by August, and the Ottoman Empire received its final nail with the Janissary Massacre at Skopje on July 28. The last of the Janissaries in the Balkans were holed up in Macedonia, surrounded by Greek, Albanian and Serbian armies. Upon breaching the defenses of Skopje, all Turkish soldiers were killed by the Revolutionary Armies. No quarter was given, nor asked for, as the Janissaries fought to the last man. Those too wounded to fight were bayoneted where they fell.
When German annexations were recognized in the Treaty of Versailles, the Croatians withdrew from Austria and returned to their own frontiers. Croatia itself was starting to come apart with tensions between Serbs and Croats living within its borders. In Bosnia, fighting was already happening. Once the last of the Austrian holdouts surrendered3, Serbs, Croats and Bosnians began fighting for control of the country.
While Balkans were fighting Balkans, the outside world looked towards the Balkans with a land-rush mentality. The threat of outside invasion did little to curb the violence. It was not until the Italian Federation invaded Slovenia, annexing the country in 1918, that made the Balkan nationalities to pause and take notice. At the start of 1919, the Balkan states knew that socialist states would have to work together, or they would be picked off one by one.
Congress of Belgrade
During March and April of 1920, Belgrade hosted a convention of leaders from throughout the Balkans. Presiding over the convention was the man who started the Revolution; Peter Karadordevic. Rapidly approaching eighty years of age, his health was further taxed by keeping the unruly Balkans under control. It was through his force of personality that the Congress of Belgrade occurred at all. Despite the clear threat from outside powers, the Balkan nations could not come to consensus on how to approach it. Nationalist wanted to create a loose confederation, or even just an alliance. Karadordevic had other ideas. His faction of the Congress moved for political unification of the Balkans into what would nominally be a federation of socialist republics.4
His staunchest ally in the Congress was the Croatian Ante Trumbic. Near the end of the Congress, he gave a speech that clearly outlined that if the Brotherhood of Workers did not hang together, they would most certainly hang separately. Furthermore, he was a Croatian, and Karadordevic was a Serbian. If Serb and Croat could put their histories aside for the cause of progress of man, then any nationality in the Balkans could. It was with this Congress that the nation of Balkans was established.
On May 1, 1920, the delegates signed the Articles of Federation, a document that forged a union between the Balkan states. It was on May Day that the Union of Balkan Socialist Republics was founded. This is not to say that the Congress was without debate. Many resisted unifying the Balkans and surrendering their sovereignty to Belgrade. The loudest of the opposition also failed to show up the day following their anti-union speeches. It is believed that the I.B.W. quickly purged these delegates; the first of many purges that would plague the communist Balkans.
After the articles were signed, and quickly ratified by the communist parties in their respective nations, the new Supreme Soviet elected its first Premier, none other than the General-Secretary of the I.B.W. Peter Karadordevic. His reign was short lived; in late 1920, he suffered a massive stroke, and shortly into 1921, the first Premier died, leaving a power vacuum that threatened to tear the Union apart. Ante Trumbic quickly found himself promoted (self-promoted) to General-Secretary, and Premier of the UBSR.
The Karadordevic legacy was more than uniting fractured peoples. His pet project; government control over food supply, is credited for diverting famine on more than one instance during the 1920s and 1930s. The plan called for the state to purchase excess grain while prices were low, and stockpile it. When prices rose or production dropped, the excess grain was dumped on the market, thus controlling prices. State control over farms, and collectivization of said farms was also hoped to maintain high productions. Though the process of collectivization caused shortages, it was the Ministry of Health that prevented famine from ravaging the Balkans.
Industrialization
More damaging to the populace of the Balkan Union than collectivization, was that of crash industrialization during the late 1920s and ‘30s. To industrialize, the I.B.W. virtually enslaved the people it claimed to liberate. Under the regime of Trumbic, the first step in industrialization was undertaken. To build factories, one must be able to deliver raw material to the factories. With this in mind, Trumbic designed plans to improve, or rather create, an infrastructure uniting all the Balkan nations. Tens of thousands of kilometers of rail and road were laid down between 1922 and 1927. To supply the road gangs with a constant stream of workers, Trumbic ordered a series of purges to weed out counter-revolutionary elements.
The first to be sent to forced labor camps were everybody who benefitted under the old regime. Oddly enough, this included the very middle class that supported the Revolution to begin with. Anybody with ties to the old regime’s administration were immediately sentenced to hard labor. Tax collectors were simply shot. Some of Trumbic’s own comrades found themselves in labor camps. Dusan Simovic was sentenced in February of 1940, and would have likely died in the work gangs, if not for World War II.
Conditions in the road gangs were brutal for even the healthiest of individuals. One stretch of highway through the Carpathian Mountains became known as the Road of Skulls, for the numbers of workers who died during its construction. During the winter of 1925, on a road that would connect the Transylvanian BSR with the Wallachian BSR, some twenty thousand workers died of exposure. Some of the dead’s only crime was being born to parents who worked for the Ottomans.
No matter how bad the road gangs were, the miners suffered even worse. Those sentence to the mine seldom lived to see freedom. In the coal mines of the Bulgarian BSR, a tight quota system was in use. Those who did not meet their quota of coal did not receive their quota of ration. When they did meet their quotas, the quotas were often increased due to mine management believing the miners could worker harder. Similar quota systems were used in the forestry gangs of the Hungarian BSR.
By 1927, steel mills sprung up across the Balkans like mushrooms. Workers who toiled in these mills lived longer lives and received better treatment, but it was just as hazardous as the mines. Safety inspection was unheard of, and when workers suffered injury they were removed and replaced. In the Novi Sad Iron Works, an average of one worker per week was killed during 1928. Oil production was not as hazardous on average, but an explosion at the Ploesti fields claimed the lives of some three thousand workers on September 11, 1929.
Five-Year Plan
Trumbic’s first five-year plan called for the full scale industrialization of the Balkan Union. Before the Balkan Union was founded, some ninety percent of the Balkan population worked in agriculture. The first five-year plan in 1922, called for this to be reduced to fifty percent by 1932. The forceful relocation of hundreds of thousands of peasants further disrupted food production. To compensate, the second five-year plan called for mass production of agricultural machinery to replace the lost workers. Though production dropped, government food rationing prevented famine from taking hold. The time between 1922 and 1932 were a lean time for the Balkans.
Furthermore, Trumbic called for the production of steel to reach one million tonnes by 1932. Coal and oil would both reach two million by the same year. Electricity was planned to be in fifty percent of Balkan homes by 1932, but this quota fell short. In 1932, a purge of the Ministry of Energy removed some of the Balkan’s more capable administrators. Dams were built across the Balkans, leading to a further displacement of peoples. These were rounded up and sent to training camps, were they would be trained in industries such as steel, fabric and machinery.
The third five-year plan, 1932 to 1937, called for a five hundred percent increase in the production of agricultural machinery. By 1936, each collective farm had at least one tractor. The tractors were of poor quality, and a trained mechanic had to be provided by the state. Upon learning of the design flaw in the Model 1931 Tractor, Trumbic purged the entire design board of Mikail-Grosniv Industrial Bureau. Along with farming equipment, the production of automobiles was to increase by two hundred percent.
In the same five-year plan, Trumbic called for the establishment of a military-industrial complex in the Balkans. Before 1932, the Balkan Union had no armor, a few Great War aircraft, some rusting ships based in the Greek BSR, and only limited manufacture of bolt-action rifles. Several bureaus were established, chief among them was the Belgrade Arsenal. The Belgrade Arsenal was expected to deliver fifty thousand pieces of artillery by 1937. It exceeded it quota by one-point-three percent.
Trumbic’s death in 1938, disrupted the fourth five-year plan. During the months of July and August, members of the I.B.W. vied against each other for power. The position of Premier devolved into a more ceremonial role, where a new premier would be elected out of the Supreme Soviet once every two years. The real power remained the general-secretary. By 1939, Ivan Mihailou, from the Macedonian BSR, seized control of the Party. His reign would be the shortest. That same year, Fuhrer Germany invaded Poland-Lithuania, igniting World War II..
Life under the New Regime
For the peasant in the Balkans, the Balkan Union offered some improvements in their quality of living. By 1940, electricity and indoor plumbing were in a majority of towns and all the cities. Some of the positive acts of the I.B.W. is to enact universal education in two dozen languages across the entire Union. Education became mandatory, and the literacy rates tripled from 1920 to 1930. Along with education, the state provided health care. Before the Revolution, most Balkans relied upon folk remedies and superstition to combat ailments. By 1940, modern medical care was universal, albeit a generation behind the rest of Europe.
For the average Balkan, the State and the Party was everywhere. The State not only planned the economy, but the way its people would live out their lives. Religion, which is diverse in the Balkans, was suppressed for that very reason. Churches and mosques were seized by the states and converted into schools, courthouses and even offices for the secret police. The Haiga Sofia in Constantinople became the headquarters of the Red Navy. With ancient beliefs suppressed, the people only had the state to look to for guidance.
For food and other daily supplies, the average Balkan was forced to wait in queues for hours just to get their weekly ration of meat or dairy, or even for a new pair of shoes. The same waits accompanied a Balkan no matter where they went. If they wished to visit the doctor, they had to wait in line. If they wished to ride the rail, the same. A Balkan spent much of their life waiting. The rest was spent worrying. They dared not complain, for nobody was certain whether the person in the next flat was an informant. The secret police ran off anonymous tips. Sometimes the threats were real, but more often or not, they were imagined by the informant, and the state (especially under Trumbic) was more than willing to believe the worse. A Balkan’s life was a mixed blessing compared to their parents; a higher standard of living, but quite possibly, a shorter life.

Pre-war Year
The Union of Balkan Socialist Republics was still a third-rate military power by 1940. Despite Trumbic’s attempts to force industrialization, the Union still lacked the industrial power to match any of the world powers in military hardware production. The Belgrade Arsenal produced more than enough artillery pieces to defend the frontier, however, ammunition production was lagging due to Trumbic’s purges. The practice of mass executions of entire departments do to lack of satisfactory work was halted by Mihailou. He saw the logic in keeping experienced hands, even if they do error from time to time.
At the start of November, 1940, the Red Navy had refitted the ships captured during the Balkan Revolution. Only a handful of new ships were built, no larger than a destroyer. Trumbic did not believe any war would be a naval war. Instead, he focused industry on Army production. This includes the Macedonian Tank Works, which produced some seven thousand Red Star tanks. The Red Stars were of high quality, the Red Army lacked the tank doctrine to use them properly. The Tank Works survived World War II, despite air raids from all sides, and continued to produce tanks for all sides during the Balkan Wars.
At the time of World War II, the Balkan Union’s GNP was a third of that which Fuhrer Germany possessed. Multiple embargoes against it hurt its economy. It did have trade with Kurdistan, Armenia and the Arab Republic. BY 1940, it also had diplomatic relations with most countries, the notable exceptions being lack of ambassadors from Madrid and Berlin. Its largest export was the Revolution itself. Advisors from the Balkan Union were embroiled in the Chinese Civil War, supply Mao with weapons and aiding in combating other factions and the Japanese.
Overall, by the time of the German Invasion, the Balkans were finally starting to climb out of the dark ages and join the modern world.
Operation Krusader
On November 30, 1940, the Union of Balkan Socialist Republics was introduced to modern warfare. The National Socialists in charge of Fuhrer Germany were extremely anti-Slavic, and viewed the Balkans as an area for Germanic colonization. They further saw Communism as the enemy of all mankind, and the Revolutionaries traitors who prevented Germany from prevailing during the Great War. In the morning of November 30, thousands of aircraft crossed the border and bombarded every major city within a thousand kilometers of the northern border. Budapest suffered severe firestorms on the nights of December 2 and 3, reducing five square kilometers of the city to ash and rubble.
By December 1, over two hundred thousand Fuhrer German soldiers and S.S. crossed the northern frontier. Three main thrusts were in the works; one to Budapest, one to Zagreb and a third to Bratislava. Zagreb was the first to fall, on December 8, when the 1st Panzer Group (12th Army) rolled into the city with minimal opposition. Bratislava was declared an open city and occupied on December 10. Budapest was a tougher nut for the Germans to crack. Two divisions of the Red Army, under the command of Vladka Macek, denied the city to 5th Panzer Division and the 2nd SS Division Das Reich for two weeks. During this period, the city suffered continuing aerial bombardment, despite already having its heart burned out days before.
The Battle of Budapest was a vicious fight, with Fuhrer German forces leveling entire city blocks to dislodge the Red Army. The city in ruins finally fell on December 23. During this same period, three German divisions had the capital of Belgrade surrounded and under siege. The Siege of Belgrade lasted between December 13, 1940 to January 7, 1941, when the city surrendered. Most of the higher echelons of the I.B.W. melted away into the population. A number of them were captured, including Ivan Mestrovic, who died in the Kotor concentration camp in 1942. Once in Fuhrer German hands, the city of Belgrade was renamed Prinzeugenestadt, and the SS went to work preparing the general vicinity for future German colonization. During 1941-1942, over a hundred thousand people were deported from the city to the camps.
Battle of Pristina
The Closest the Red Army came to stopping the Fuhrer Germans came on January 28, during the Battle of Pristina. Two German armored divisions squared off against three armored divisions of the Red Army, in what came to be known as the largest tank battle of Operation Krusader. The Red Army, lead by General Nikos Zachariadis, blunted several drives by the Germans during the course of the morning. One counterattack even managed to push back a panzer brigade several kilometers.
In the end, what decided the battle was not the quality of armor or armor tactics, but control of the air. The Luftwaffe dominated the skies over the Balkan Union. Stuka divebombers, obsolete as they were, still we more than capable of knocking out Balkan tanks. Most Balkan tanks were taken out this way. Once the Germans were clearly in control of the battlefield, Zachariadis ordered a general retreat, after which, what tanks that could not be hidden were scuttled. The battle offered the last great resistance of the Red Army, and the Fuhrer German forces, after the battle, continued into Greece, taking Athens.
Surrender
The last holdout of active resistance in the Balkan Union was at Sofia. The city fell to the enemy on February 27, 1941. With it, the Balkan Union was under the control of Fuhrer Germany. On March 1, the Balkan government officially surrendered to the Reich, thus ending the existence of the Union of Balkan Socialist Republics. Those officials attending the surrender were put under arrest and either shipped off to prison camps or shot. The Balkan Union was dismantled in short order.

Croatia, Bosnia and much of Serbia was organized into a puppet state, along with Greece. The former was slated to be colonized by Germans after the war ended, and after the area had been ethnically cleansed. "Non-Slavs", at least by National Socialist reckoning, were organized into independent vassals. The states of Hungary, Bulgaria, Dacia and Crimea were created, and locals of the fascist persuasion were placed in power. The states were nominally independent, and in control of internal affairs. However, these junior partners answered directly to the Fuhrer in respect to World War II. During the invasion of Sweden, all four of these states participated, along with mercenaries from Turkey and the Arab Republic.
The Fascists in command of the vassals were ultra-nationalistic in attitude, many were exiled from their homelands after the Balkan Revolution. When restored to their nations, and placed in power, they began to purge their nations of communists. The blood letting the commenced was on the same scale as post-Revolution purges. All non-nationalities within the nations were expelled, and in some cases, sent into concentration camps. The fact that, on a genetic scale, that all the Balkans had Slavic blood in them to some extent did not factor into the Fuhrer’s Final Solution to the Slavic Problem. The National Socialists had doctrine that appeared to target Slavs for arbitrary reasons.
The Camps
A large portion of National Socialist doctrine revolves around an anti-Slavic attitude. The Great War effectively came to an end with the Balkan Revolution, with no clear cut winner. This was one of the tools the National Socialist used to come to power; they claimed the Slavs betrayed them, cost them victory. Slavs were seen as the enemy of the Aryan. Their racial doctrine had no scientific evidence backing it, and it sounded crazy. However, to the SS, this doctrine was no joke. It was as real to them as gravity and thermodynamics is to the modern reader.
At first, the solution to the Slavic Problem was to enslave many and expel the rest. Centuries before, they migrated into Europe from the East, and to the east they would be sent again. However, The East, was under Swedish control, and they had no desire to accept millions of refugees. Besides, there was a large Slavic population in Sweden, and the National Socialists saw it as their destiny to claim the wheat fields of the steppes for further German colonization. The possibility to expel the Slavs all the way east of the Urals was discussed, but found infeasible for the immediate future.
The Fuhrer demanded results, and demanded them immediately. The Slavs would be removed from the land, but where would they be stored? The first concentration camp was opened north of Srebrenica, which was home to fifty thousand Slavs and other undesirables. The idea of mass extermination was not at first visited. Instead, the Slavs would be reduced to slavery, as per the racial order dictated by National Socialism. To the Fuhrer, that was all the "under-men" were good for. Labor camps were constructed within the boundaries of Germany, near mines and factories, where the Slavs would be used for menial labor. This would free up more "over-men" for the fight against Sweden.
A second camp was opened in Macedonia, nominally under Bulgarian control. However, the Fuhrer Germans seized control of the monestrous Macedonian Tank Works, and put Slavs to use building new tanks for the Fuhrer. All the industrial giants of Germany were quick to jump at the prospect of free labor. Hundreds of thousands of Slavs in labor camps across Europe were worked to death building weapons for the Fuhrer and his henchmen.
Labor camps were just the beginning. In early 1942, a new camp was constructed five kilometers south of Treblinka. This camp had little in the way of forced labor. The healthy and able bodied prisoners were separated from the rest. The laborers were loaned out to companies as free labor. The rest went into gas chambers. Millions of Slavs were killed in this fashion, their corpses sent into the ovens, along with other enemies of the Reich. The first people to go to the death camps were Communist Party officials, including the Revolutionary, Ivan Mestrovic. After the party leaders, came functionaries. After them, any village or town that displayed the least bit of resistance was depopulated and deported to the camps.
Aside from America’s Manhattan Project, the camps were the best kept secret of the war. Allied forces knew of the existence of large complexes throughout Poland-Lithuania and the Balkans, but it was not until the Swedes liberated some of these locations that they knew what was really going on. Believing they were factory complexes, two of the camps; Vojno and Gabela were bombed by the United States Army Air Corp in May and July of 1943 respectively. Thousands were killed in the raid, and in the case of Vojno, the railways leading into the camp were reduced to scrap iron and splinters.
Resistance
Even before the mass murder of the Slavs, Balkans resisted German occupation and the puppet vassals. The International Brotherhood of Workers melted away into the crowd after the Balkan Union fell. Most of these were part of the original Revolutionary cells back in 1916. New cells were formed. However, these cells were not all communistic in nature. Many cells drifted towards the inherit nationalism that plagues the Balkans. These cells attacked their neighbors just as readily as they attacked the occupiers.
Chief among the resistance leaders was Joseph Tito. Born in Kunrovec, Croatia in 1892, Tito participated in the Balkan Uprisings. He was a young officer in the Croatian Socialist Army, serving under Trumbic during the capture of Zagreb. He spent the immediate years after the formation of the Balkan Union as a party official in the Croatian Soviet. During the Trumbic Years, he was elevated to the Supreme Soviet of the Union, as were many of Trumbic’s fellow Croatians. He was part of Croatia’s representation during every Party Congress between 1936-1940. When Fuhrer Germany invaded the Balkan Union, Tito melted away into the Croatian countryside, along with units of the broken Red Army.
Tito’s partisans began their attacks against the occupiers in mid 1941. Their raids were minor at first; small unit patrols vanishing, road side bombs knocking out trucks, even one stunt were a partisan smuggled a fine, itchy powder into a laundry frequented by the Germans. Tito’s campaign picked up in pace when his partisans assassinated Reinhard Heydrick in Split, on August 4, 1943. In retaliation, the SS deported more than sixty percent of the city’s population to camps scattered across the Balkans.
His reign of terror did succeed in dragging more soldiers into the Balkans to pacify the region, soldiers that could be headed for the Eastern Front. Partisans were some of the first outside of the SS and inner circle of the National Socialists to learn of the existence of the camps. Once it became clear that his countrymen were being butchered by the thousands, Tito ordered general attacks against any and all SS personnel. Any SS man captured would be swiftly executed. He shifted his attacks away from the German Army and on to servants of the Fuhrer.
The greatest blow against the Slavic Genocide came on May 18, 1944, when Tito personally lead a raid against a train stuffed full of Croats and Bosniaks destined for Treblinka. More than five thousand people were crammed into a couple dozen cattle cars. Many died during the escape, but the surviving adults were recruited into Tito’s army. Again, the SS retaliated for this attack. They massacred four thousand men, women and children outside of Sarejavo, dumping their corpses into a pit and setting it ablaze.
Aside from Marshall Tito, another of the old guard lead resistance, Zoltan Tildy. Instead of fighting Fuhrer Germany directly, he remained in his homeland of Hungary, and did battle with the vassal Fascist Government installed by the Fuhrer. Tildy’s campaign did not have the magnitude of bloodshed that Tito knew, but he did prove successful in throwing a monkey wrench into the Hungarians works. His raid on the Hungarian Air Force’s Szolnok, and destruction of numerous fighters warranted this comment from an analysis in the RAF; "Monkey wrench nothing, Tildy threw the whole monkey into the work."
Reprisals within the Hungarian state were nowhere near as brutal as within territories directly occupied by Fuhrer Germany. In truth, the Hungarian Secret Police were amateurs when compared to the Gestapo. Many were quietly sympathetic with the resistance. There were no longer any overt communists within Hungary’s government. Like in the occupied territories, the vassals also purged themselves of I.B.W. members, handing them over to Fuhrer Germany, as per the one-sided treaties the Fuhrer forced upon his vassals.
Liberation
The liberation of the Balkans began in August of 1944, with the Swedish invasion of Crimea. After fighting Fuhrer Germany, his vassals and mercenaries for three years, the Swedish Army finally managed to bleed them white. Leading the drive into Crimea were Sweden’s legendary armored cavalry, the Cossacks. The Crimean vassal lasted only twenty-three days against the Swedish invasion, before capitulating. On the twenty-first day, when victory was all but assured, the Crimean people rose up in a spontaneous rebellion, ousting the hated Fascists. The leader of this Fascists state, Revik Gzorny, was lynched in the courtyard of the People’s Court in Sevastopol. Though Crimea fell easily, the Fuhrer German Army constructed elaborate fortification across Dacia.
Bulgaria was the next vassal to fall. On January 17, 1945, the government in Sofia fell, and was replaced by the Bulgarian Socialist Party. On January 20, the Bulgarian Balkan Socialist Republic joined the Swedes in their drive through the Balkans. Greek partisans joined the Bulgarians in liberated Constantinople from the Fuhrer’s grasp. Closing the Bosporus effectively cut off any pockets of German resistance along the Black Sea. Falling the liberation of Constantinople, Turkey recalled its own mercenary contingent, and in fact declared war upon Fuhrer Germany on March 2.
By April of 1945, the Red Army came out of hiding in force. Before, they were but partisans, bloodying the Fuhrer wherever possible. With Swedish forces grinding through the Balkans, the Red Army retrieved all the heavy equipment if had cached away, including more than two hundred surviving tanks5. The Red Army struck south through Greece, and met German armor in what could only be called a reverse battle of Thermopylae. It was the Greeks who charged into the now widened pass, breaking the garrison and driving on Athens. No front line soldiers of the Reich were based within Greece since the fall of the Balkan Union. This fact was what allowed the reborn Red Army to achieve victory.
Hungarian Uprising
By June of 1945, the Swedish Army crossed the Carpathian Mountains into Transylvania, at the time occupied by Hungary. With the Swedish Army rolling over the Fuhrer’s Hungarian vassals, the Hungarian people seized the moment and rose up against the installed government. Tildy lead his partisans in the most overt action of his carrier as a guerilla; a full scale assault on Budapest. His attack was premature, and broken by the Germans garrisoned in the city.
Though the attack on the capital failed, the general uprising succeeded in taking control of the countryside, while the Fascists remained in command of the major cities. Partisans hit each convoy that ventured between cities, massacring the soldiers and looting their supplies. City by city fell to Swedish sieges, unable to resupply do to partisan activity. Tildy linked up with the 55th Kiev Infantry and 5th Cossack Armored Cavalry south of Budapest, and attempted to take the city again in late September. Though the Hungarians fought fiercely to take back their capital along side the Swedes and the Cossacks, it was not Tildy who accepted the surrender of the German garrison on October 3. It was Ivan Drenekovich, commander of the 5th Cossacks.
Liberating the Camps
The true horror of World War II, was not on the battlefields, were over ten million soldiers were killed. It was not even in the cities across Europe, North America and the Pacific, were tens of millions were killed in sieges and air raids. It was in the concentration and death camps scattered across Eastern Europe. When soldiers go into combat, they accept the fact they could die. When civilians die during the battle, they are collateral damage6. When they were placed in the camps, it was murder on an industrial scale.
The first camps liberated were a shock to the Swedish Army. Tens of thousands of emaciated inmates, tens of thousands more dead. The Swedish Army was no stranger to atrocities committed by the SS. Hundreds of villages across the Swedish steppe were raised and massacred, but to see industrialized murder on an assembly line, not even the most scared Cossack could imagine it possible. Many Cossack villages and towns were depopulated, causing Cossacks to disregard the Swedish Army’s rules on prisoners when regarded any captive with the skull-and-cross-bones of the SS.
Perhaps it was just one camp. Perhaps the Swedes stumbled upon a prison camp for political prisoners. Two more months fighting in the Balkans, and a dozen more camps were liberated. Along with the camps, the largest of which was Treblinka with over one hundred thousand inmates, the Swedish Army discovered mass graves across the countryside. Swedish officials carefully documented the camps and captured SS documents. The SS was methodical about keeping records. Executed inmates were written down with inhuman accuracy. The job was too big for the Swedish Army to handle alone. The Red Cross rushed to the Balkans in the wake of Swedish advances, attempting to save those who were not beyond hope. It is estimated that nearly seven million Slavs were killed in the camps.
When partisans and remnants of the Red Army liberated their first camp, the Balkans no longer gave quarter to the Fuhrer’s henchmen. Any soldier, whether regular army or SS, were killed on sight. The Balkans took out revenge upon the Fuhrer Germans. A contingent of Serbian partisans, under the command of General Stephan Filipovic, launched their own attack against a Swedish ran POW camp. The Swedish guards stood back helpless, as eight thousand Serbs slaughtered every prisoner in the camp.
Most Balkan units and partisans remained in the Balkans, hunting down German holdouts and collaborators. Filipovic’s Brigade followed the Swedish Army northwest, raiding into Austria and Bohemia, taking their revenge to the German people. On the march north, the Swedes liberated more camps, this time labor camps. Hundreds of thousands more Balkans were liberated from these camps, and thousands more SS men captured. Freeing the prisoners slowed the Swedish Army’s advance, but the fate of Fuhrer Germany was sealed by 1946. It was the Cossacks who spearheaded the final thrust into the heart of the Reich, raising the Swedish flag over the ruins of the Reichstag on April 20, 1946.

The Kiat
April 10th, 2010, 06:07 PM
XVI) Balkan Wars
(1948-1989)
Restored Union
On May 1, 1946, the International Brotherhood of Workers reinstated the Supreme Soviet and met in Belgrade for the first time since 1940. Many of the previous party members and representatives were absent from the Soviet, including Revolutionary Ivan Mestrovic. The first order of business for the Party was to regain control over the Balkans. After the war ended, violence still rocked the Balkans. Brigands and highwaymen roamed the Balkan Union. German occupation brought nationalism back to the surface after a generation of I.B.W. suppression. Not only did the Red Army have to battle brigands, but they were forced to battle nationalistic militias staffed with partisan veterans of the occupation.
The first order of business was to clean their respective houses. Untold numbers of Balkans collaborated with the Germans and their vassals. In Wallachia alone, fifty thousand people who took part in the Dacian Government were executed by 1948. The ideological pull distracted the government from more pressing matters; such as repairing the Union. The infrastructure, which was not the best in the world to begin with, was utterly destroyed by two invasions. Industry was in shambles, and would take as long to rebuild as it took to construct in the first place.
The Balkan Union also found itself constrained by the presence of Swedish soldiers. The Kingdom of Sweden is none to thrilled by the ideals of the International Brotherhood of Workers. Before the war, the I.B.W. made itself quite a nuisance in the regional parliaments of the Ukraine. Some nationalistic elements within the Union saw the Swedes as the new occupiers. Attacks on Swedish convoys took place during 1946 and 1947 through the Carpathian Mountains. These nationalistic elements did not stop with just attacking foreigners.
In the Bosnian Balkan Socialist Republic, tension between the Serbs and their Croat and Bosniak neighbors boiled over in 1947. The rise of the Serbian National Front, a hold out resistance band from World War II, began to raid over the border into Bosnia, burning Bosniak villages in northeast Bosnia. Bosnians naturally retaliated, and this set into action a vicious cycle, that would not come close to ending until the 1990s. The National Socialists’ goal of destroying the Balkan Union was rapidly coming true, though not by direct actions. It was the occupation, which lead to rise of nationalism, that inevitably spelled the end of the socialist experiment.
The Serbian Coup
On August 14, 1948, the Serbian National Front, lead by Mikhail Igorvik, stormed the Supreme Soviet in Belgrade, supported by Serbian Generals within the Red Army. The coup removed the Macedonian Mihailou from power and placed Igorvik as the new General-Secretary of the I.B.W. Non-Serbs within the Supreme Soviet were arrested. Igorvik drew up plans to replace the Supreme Soviet and all the Party Congress with Serbs and Pro-Serb Balkans. The coup was two years in the making.
During the years of 1946 and 1947, violence in Bosnia slowly spilled over into Croatia and Montenegro. Attacks against locals by Serbs resulted in attacks on Serbs. In response to this, the Serbian B.S.R. sent in policing forces to defend its people. Order within the Balkan Union was never restored to the level pre-1940. This resulted in many dissatisfied people within the Union, especially in Serbia. As the heartland of the Balkan Union and birthplace of the Revolution, Serbians believed they should have the largest say within the Union.
It goes without saying that other nationalities disagreed with the Serbians. Instead of having endless open debates in the Supreme Soviet, the people resolved their problems by breaking bottles over each others’ heads. Reaction to the coup was almost predictable as the Supreme Soviet was discharges. On August 17, Crimea and Greece seceded from the Balkan Union. As it became clear that the coup has effectively turned the U.B.S.R. into a Serbian Empire, more states left the Union. Bulgaria joined on August 24, followed by Galicia on September 1, and Slovakia on September 12. Croatia attempted to secede, but Igorvik ordered it flooded with Red Army units loyal to Serbia.
On December 25, 1948, the survivors of the coup met for the final Party Congress of the First Balkan Union. Due to failures of the Party, and the Serbian Coup, the survivors voted to disband the Balkan Union. Better to be independent states than provinces under the thumb of the so-called Serbian Empire. Most I.B.W. would work to turn their own nations into socialist states. Not all were in favor of giving up. A faction of the Congress lead by Tito swore to fight on until Igorvik was removed from power and the Balkan Union restored.
Uncivil War
The first of many war in the Balkans erupted with the Serbian invasions of Bulgaria, Transylvania and Hungary. With the dissolution of the Balkan Union, Serbia inherited a disproportionally large amount of the Red Army, which Igorvik did not hesitate to wield. Belgrade intended to force those states back into compliance. Their attempts failed. The Serbian Army’s advances into Bulgaria and Transylvania stalled, while they were ignominiously thrown back from Hungarian territory. The chaos was followed on September 7, 1949, when Slovakia invaded Galicia.
Neighbor began fighting neighbor across the Balkans. Serbia soon found itself fending off a Hungarian invasion, while Greek and Macedonian militias skirmished across their border. No where was the violence more appalling than in Bosnia. Bosnia was the most ethnically diverse of the Balkan states; home to Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, along with smaller enclaves of Montenegrians and Albanians. If blood lines were not enough, the Bosniaks were Sunni, Croats Catholics and Serbs Orthodox. Nothing is guaranteed to make a civil war utterly uncivil than adding theological differences to the mix.
Following battles in Bosnia came the inevitable massacre. Croats slaughtered Serbs, Serbs slaughtered Bosniaks, and Bosniaks retaliated against both. Entire villages simply vanished from the map overnight. Bosnia suffered a case of total war that almost rivals the brutality of World War II. Each side was nearly as efficient as killing off the others as the SS was in their running of the camps. The worst such massacre between the First and Second Balkan Unions occurred on May 7, 1952. The total ethnic cleansing of the Lasva Valley of its Bosniak population by the Croats. Officially, Croatia condemned the action, but recently circumstantial evidence suggests otherwise. During the assault, all the Bosniaks were expelled, with over four thousand men separated from the masses, taken to a shallow ravine and shot. The massacre was covered up by earth movers shortly afterwards.
By October of 1949, Hungarians were on the outskirts of Belgrade. A bulk of the Red Arm deserted, while the rest were either trapped in the city or on Serbia’s other frontiers battling Transylvanians, Bulgarians and now Croatians accusing Serbia of supplying the Serbs in Bosnia. The Igorvik government toppled on October 30, when Igorvik was killed by his own secret police. The Head of Internal Security, Frederick Gimbovik, took the reigns of government, immediately suing for terms with the invaders.
With the Serbian frontier secured, Hungary turned around an invaded Transylvania on November 20 of that same year. With so much of the Transylvania Army in Serbia, the Hungarians drove a hundred kilometers into the nation before stopping. The war would carry on for another two years, with no clear victor. Tragically, this particular conflict in the general Balkan Wars was a repeat of the Great War, with thousands upon thousands of soldiers dying in a no-man’s land between fortifications. The war ended in cease fire only after Poland-Lithuania invaded and annexed Galicia in 1951.
Further east, Moldova and Crimea fought fiercely over large tracks of arable land sitting between the Dniester and Prut rivers. The Crimean-Moldovan War lasted for seven months during 1953. Like so many of the Balkan Wars, this one ended inconclusively with the death of fifty thousand soldiers. Crimea did make gains, partly because it was supplied by Sweden. During October, the last month of the war, negotiators from the VOC sat down with both sides and mediated a truce. Violence along the Black Sea threatened company trade routes with Armenia and Kurdistan.
Sarejavo Conference
In May of 1953, Joseph Tito called together delegates from across the Balkans to attend a conference in Sarejavo. The goal of this conference was to re-establish the Balkan Union and write a new constitution. Many states declined or refused to even acknowledge the invitation. Of the Balkan states; Bosnia, Croatia, Wallachia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Albania and Crimea sent delegates. Two weeks into the conference, the Albanian delegates withdrew as it became clear the new constitution would not benefit them. Albania wanted control over Kosovo, which held many Albanians within its borders, but Tito refused to allow any transfer of territory.
The Second Balkan Union came into existence on August 21, 1953, with Sarejavo as its capital. It immediately saw itself at war with Serbia. This was partially a blessing in disguise, for it forced the Croats and Bosniaks of Bosnia to put aside their differences and unite against the Serbians and Serbs within Bosnia. Tito used all of his political clout to try and stop the violence within Bosnia, with limited success. He did start commissions to investigate the massacres, and even brought several Croats, including those involved in Lasva Valley, to justice. This caused some Croats within Bosnia to see Tito as a traitor, for he too was Croatian.
Serbia was forced to withdrawal any support for its fellow ethnics within Bosnia, as it became apparent that they faced a war on two fronts against the restored Balkan Union. Bulgarians and Crimeans were more than happy to engage in war against those whom they blame for the fall of the first Union. Despite pleas for vengeance, Tito had plans beyond the narrow views of his comrades. He wanted to restore all the Union, and to expand the I.B.W. to places it had never held influence. He orders embassies sent to the Middle East and East Asia. He did succeed in establishing ties with the People’ Dynasty in China, as well as with rebels in Indochina and Mexico.
The Tito Plan also called for rebuilding the Union’s shattered industry and infrastructure. This was only partially enacted, and only insofar as warfare was concerned. The People’s Air Bureau opened in 1955, in Wallachia and produced several models of aircraft that saw action across the Balkans and later in post-colonial Africa. Sadly, the standards of living within all the Balkans fell below their pre-World War II levels. Poverty spread across the Union. Coupled with constant warfare, this lead to a Balkan Diaspora.
Belgrade Council
In response to the restored Balkan Union, Serbia, under the command of Gimbovik, called for delegates to attend their own conference. In 1956, a Belgrade-lead Balkan Union was established, with Serbia, Hungary and Transylvania joining. Zoltan Tildy has reservation about joining Belgrade, but unlike Tito, Gimbovik did promise transfer of territory. The Belgrade Council was not a Union in the same way as the Balkan Union, but rather an alliance of convenience. The year it was founded, Hungary threw its weight behind Serbia in a full-scale invasion of Bosnia.. In return for their aid, Hungary would be awarded parts of Slovakia, as with Transylvania. The Transylvanians will be compensated with lands in Wallachia.
Sarejavo fell under siege during the first four months of 1957. The city was completely cut off from the outside world, with the exception of the air waves. The rest of Europe heard the pleas for help come out of the Bosnian capital, but none lifted a finger to come to their aid. Bosnia was just not strategically important. The United Nations did impose sanctions against Serbia and Hungary, but with no avail. The governments in Budapest and Belgrade did not feel the sanctions, but the people did. It was the Balkan people that suffered the most, and sensing the ineffectiveness of the sanctions, they were withdrawn in 1959.
Thousands were killed during the Siege of Sarejavo, including General Stephan Filipovic, and the city itself was left in ruins. When the Serbians did finally capture the city, it was of little use to the conquerors or the vanquished. Following the Fall of Sarejavo, Crimea withdrew from the Balkan Union and switched sides, allying with the Serbians. This defection effectively dissolved the Second Balkan Union. Despite this betrayal, Tito did not give up on restoring the Union. He did, however, withdrawal to Croatia and lead the Croatian Red Army in defense against Serbian incursions.
The Belgrade Council did not last long after their victory over the Balkan Union. In 1958, Slovakia was partitioned between Hungary, Austria and Poland-Lithuania. Slovakia called for aid with its former allies, but all they received were humanitarian aid from Croatia. The aid was quickly intercepted by the Hungarians. Though Serbia wished to continue their campaign against Croatia, Tildy decided that Hungary has warred enough for the time being. Hungary withdrew from the Belgrade Council in 1959. Serbia withdrew three weeks later. The Belgrade-lead Union fell after only three years.
Greco-Wars
While the Balkans burned in the flames of war, Turkey came under the control of the ultra-nationalists. The new Turkey had dreams of restoring the glory of the Ottoman Empire, along with the land lost in 1916. With the Balkans in turmoil, Ankara thought it would be an easy conquest. The first act of the brief Turkish Invasions was the near disastrous invasion of Rhodes. Though the Greeks garrisoning the island had no reason to expect attack, they reacted quickly to the surprise. Of the Turk’s air assault, twenty percent of the bombers were downed by the few surface-to-air missiles and obsolete turbo-prop P-58s. The Turkish Air Force’s bomb sights were jokes, and most of the bombs fell a foul of the Greek fortifications. However, hundreds of civilians were killed during the bombardment.
Three torpedo boats, relics from World War II, intercepted the Turkish invasion force. Though all three boats were destroyed, they were not before they released their torpedoes, destroying a troop transport and destroyer. Ten thousand Turks poured ashore to do battle with the roughly fifteen hundred Greek soldiers based on the island. The landing itself resulted in over a thousand Turks killed. Even after the Turks were in control of the city, surviving Greek soldiers carried out guerilla warfare against the invaders. In response, the Turks began executing Greek civilians for each of its own soldiers killed.
More successful, or rather less disastrous, was the crossing of the Bosporus by the bulk of the Turkish Army. Through October to December of 1953, the Turks placed Constantinople under siege, damaging much of the city. During the siege, over twenty thousand civilians were killed, and untold ancient building destroyed. The dome of the Haiga Sofia collapsed under the bombardment of Turkish artillery. The Turkish Invasions never reached inland in the Balkans, and were reduced to raiding along the Aegean and Black Seas.
At the time, the Greek government, under the control of Nikos Zachariadis, saw Turkey as a major threat. It was with some relief in January of 1954, when George Patton arrived in Athens and offered his services. The former Confederate general exiled himself from his homeland following the Confederacy’s destruction. For the previous ten years, he served as a military advisor to the government of New Grenada. Upon hearing about the Turkish attacks on Greece, he resigned his post and traveled to Greece. It is believed that his fondness for Mediterranean history and of Ancient Greece that prompted him to aid in resisting the Asiatic Hordes.
Patton was accepted as advisor and made a general in the Greek Army. His first plans called for the relief of Constantinople. After planning the invasion of the Union more than a decade previous, Patton was astonished by what he considered the stupidity of the Turk’s plan. To begin with, their navy could not hope to defeat the Greek Navy, despite controlling the waters around Constantinople. The Turks also had limited ability to engage in strategic bombings. Even then, they still targeted symbolic buildings, such as the Acropolis in Athens.
The Greeks lifted the Siege of Constantinople by forcing the Dardanelles, at high cost to their navy, and cutting off almost half the Turkish Army. Before the Turkish invasion force could even surrender, the Greeks landed one hundred thousand of their own soldiers on the Ionian Coast of western Turkey. In turn, the Turks attempted to evacuate their army in Europe to thwart the invasion.
One more nail in the Turkish coffin came with the intervention of the Dutch East India Company. The Turkish Invasions severely disrupted trade in the Aegean Sea, much so that the VOC was concerned that oil from Armenia and Kurdistan might be cut off. The VOC assessed the situation and decided their company would be best served if Greece was in control of the sea. The VOC began overtly supporting Zachariadis with arms shipment at a reduced price, and even escorting Greek merchantmen with their own private warships. By April of 1954, the Turkish Navy ceased to exist as a functional branch of their military.
It was not until late 1954 that the Ankara Government collapsed, turning Turkey into a failed state. Even more than fifty years after their war with Greece, Anatolia is still ruled by petty warlords and factions of the Ottoman Mafia. On January 1, 1955, Greece officially annexed the west coast of Anatolia. This was not the end of Greco expansion. While Greece did work to consolidate its new holdings, its attention soon turned to the state which called itself Macedonia. Being part of Greek history, Zachariadis decided that any state which calls itself Macedonia should be under Greek control. It was more than historical; the fact that a large armor production facility as well with other military-industrial infrastructure existed within Macedonia did factor into his equation.
In 1969, the Greeks went to war with the Third Balkan Union. The war was slow going, lasting for four years and claiming two hundred sixteen thousand dead. The war concluded in 1973, with Greece annexing Macedonia. Only three days after the treaty was signed, the long standing Greek President Zachariadis died. General Andreas Papandreou replaced him as President until 1981, when elections were finally enacted.
The Turbulent Sixties
Turkey was not the only outside power to invade the Balkans. In 1962, Sweden launched its own invasion of Crimea. Crimean bandits had spent the previous year raiding into Sweden, burning farms in the Ukrainian steppes and finally sacking Petrelogorod, a town of three thousand along Sweden’s Sea of Azov Coast. The attack took the world by surprise, as over a thousand Swedish aircraft struck at targets across the Crimean Peninsula in simultaneous strikes. Such an awesome show of air power had not been seen since the blitzes of World War II.
The Crimean military was all but crippled in the first day of the war. The Swedish Army, spearheaded by two Cossack Armored Divisions rolled over what few Crimean soldiers remained. They reached Sevastopol only eight days after the war began, despite the poor road conditions. The Democratic Republic of Crimea had little choice but to cede the Crimean Peninsula to Sweden, thus removing Crimea as a player in the Balkans. Afterwards, Crimea remained an economic dependent to Sweden to this very day.
Again, the Turks were not the only ones with dreams of restored empires. In 1960, the Habsburgs, restored as Kings of Austria, looked to expanding their own borders once again. Not satisfied with the portions of Slovakia they carved off for themselves, the Austrians invaded Hungary in attempts to reclaim its throne as well. The war was a fruitless exercise in maneuver and counter-maneuver, with battles comprising of long-range artillery duels. Two months into the war, the Kaiser mediated a peace between the two belligerents, with Austria gaining only three square kilometers of land at the cost of nine thousand dead.
Serb Conquests
After the collapse of the Belgrade Council, the Serbians were up to their old bag of tricks again; plotting to found a Serbian Empire on the ashes of the Balkan Union. As with every attempt, Serbia began its expansionism at Bosnia’s expense. Though this new wave of invasions lacked the ethnic violence of previous wars, it still ripped up what little of the roads and rails the Bosnians managed to repair since the fall of the Second Union. Bosnia itself fell under Serbian control from 1961 to 1963.
The Bosnians themselves, Bosniaks and Croats, were not content to let Serbia keep and even colonize their homeland. Resistance movements hampered Serbian occupation and administration. Despite previous levels of violence, the Serbian Army did not instigate massacres against the Bosnian population. They did, however, impose martial law under draconic conditions, including internal passports and identification cards. Those who lacked papers were arrests and held for long periods. Those who violated curfew were often assumed to be part of the resistance and shot on sight.
Despite lower levels of violence, the Serbians did precede to deport Bosniaks from regions bordering Serbia. The Serbian government planned to move Serbs within Serbia closer to the border with the motherland. This ethnic redistribution caused serious disruptions to supply, and even allowed near-famine conditions in some of Bosnia’s cities. Most of the resources were expended in transporting peoples and making the demography of Bosnia, something that met with Belgrade’s approval.
In Kosovo, the Serbians decided to redistribute the demographics, but not in the same way as Bosnia. In Kosovo, Belgrade decided that it was time to expel the Albanians. The ethnic cleansing brought numerous protests from Albania, but protests were all they were. Albania attempted to garner United Nations support, despite the fact that no Balkan state was a member of the UN. The UN did, in fact, pass a resolution condemning Serbia’s actions, but made no attempt to stop them. By 1963, more than forty percent of the Albanians were refugees within Albania.
Serbo-Hungarian War
In May of 1963, Hungary once again went to war against Serbia. It was not that they supported the Bosniaks or Albanians, but rather they could see the writing on the wall. There was concern in Budapest that the Serbians might turn their eyes towards Hungary. The Hungarians struck at the relatively undefended eastern border of Serbia, breaching their defenses after only three days of brutal fighting.
On June 4, 1963, the Hungarian 3rd Division rolled into Belgrade, virtually unopposed. When news of the city’s fall reached the Serbian colonies, the Bosniaks and Croats of Bosnia and Albanians living within the Serbian border, rose up in revolt. The uprisings were almost as abrupt as the original Balkan Uprising. So forceful were they, that Serbian units in Bosnia withdrew to the firmly Serb-held areas. On June 9, the Serbian government fell.
Terms for peace were rather lenient. Hungary had no interest in occupying Serbia, but demanded that it withdrawal from Bosnia and Montenegro, the former racked by civil war un 1971. There was no terms concerning Kosovo, which was a province within Serbia. Thus, the Serbians continued their cleansing. However, having much of their power broken, Albania went to war against Serbia. There was no declaration, but units of the Albanian army crossed the border to protect ethnic Albanians, and did manage to push Albania’s border several kilometers into Serbia.
The Third Balkan Union
At the start of 1968, with the better part of a violent decade behind them, Joseph Tito once again tried to restore the Balkan Union. He called for all Balkan States to send delegate to a conference in Zagreb. Fewer delegates arrive, and even less agreed to a new constitution, this one authorizing more power to the executive branch. Of the ten states that attended, only Bosnia, Croatia, Albania, Wallachia and Macedonia ratified. The Third Union was weaker than the previous two, and infrastructure in Bosnia was all but shattered.
Tito’s first Five Year Plan of the Third Union called for linking all the states by road and rail. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in rebuilding Bosnia alone. The Third Union was almost a failure from the beginning. In the 1970s, they fought a losing war against Greece, where all of Macedonia was annexed by them. Further Greek air strikes into Bosnia and Albania severely damaged industry and infrastructure that had already seen two decades worth of on-again, off-again warfare. The plus side of the conflict saw that outsiders were getting involved within the Balkans.
During the Greco War, the Italians sent in a small expeditionary force into Albania to prevent the spread of Greek influence. The Italian Federation was already wary of Greece following their crippling blow against the former Republic of Turkey. Greek shipping began to overlap on Italian interests, and pirates were even operating out of the many islands in the Aegean Sea, targeting mostly Italian ships. They wisely avoided any ship waving the VOC banner. Thought Italy did not declare war on Greece, it did fight several small naval engagements against pirates and Greek patrol boats, along with landing a regiment in Albania to keep the Greeks from gaining any holds on the Adriatic coast.
The idea that Greece, despite its regional power, was ever a threat to the Italian Federation is somewhat of a misnomer. The Greek Navy consists of relics from World War II and earlier, with a few modern mods, while the Italian Navy had five guided missile cruisers and even an aircraft carrier. Italian nationalism played a role as well, for the Nationalist Party, with its ultra-nationalistic views, was playing on the Greek menace to gain votes. It did gain a coalition majority in Italy’s parliament, and went about trying to ‘rebuild the glories of Rome’. They did in part, restoring Ancient Roman structures in time for the 1972 Olympics, and even completely rebuilding the Flavian Amphitheater, the legendary Roman Colosseum.
In the end, Italian intervention, albeit light, did not stop Greece from achieving its goals. By 1973, it was in control of the relatively intact industrial base of Macedonia. For two decades, Macedonia managed to avoid much of the Balkan Wars, mostly because it was a primary arms manufacturer in the region. This became doubly important following embargos and sanctions against the various states in the region. Greece had little to no interest in supplying any of its northern neighbors, and instead used the industrial pygmy to help rebuild its own country. Greece joined the United Nations in 1976, the first of the Balkan states to do so. Hungary followed in 1979.
Assassination
On January 17, 1979, Joseph Tito, the General-Secretary of the Balkan Union, was scheduled to give a speech outlining his new Five Year Plan in Sarejavo. The plan called for the completion of the public works and repair to the regions’ damaged roads and rails, along with expanding the production of consumer products. He was to speak in front of the Sarejavo Copper Works, a state-ran business that once produced copper plating and wiring, but was not retooled to produced cooking ware and hand tools.
His speech was not to be. At 9:16, only fourteen minutes before he was scheduled to make his appearance, Tito worked his way through the crowds outside of the factory. Though many of the International Brotherhood of Workers claimed to be ‘of the people’, Tito was truly the People’s General-Secretary. When he encountered one Pavel Minkail, he offered his hand and called the man comrade. In return, Minkail produced an Austrian-era pistol and fired three shots into Tito. The first two shots missed anything vital but the third shot entered his chest and ripped through his heart. Tito died only minutes later, while his personal guards and some of the local workers tried to get him to medical attention. As for the assassin, the instant he fired off his rounds, three of Tito’s guards drew their own weapons and gunned him down. Tragically, not all shots found their target in the crowd, and two other workers were wounded.
Tito’s death rippled across the Third Balkan Union. Days after his assassination, senior members of the IBW began fighting for control of the Party and the Union. It was not open civil war, but two of Tito’s senior party allies did vanish, and neither was Croatian. By November of 1979, Croatian Statesman Andre Marik was in control. He placed fellow Croatians in key positions in the government and military. Non-Croatian Generals were purged from the service. In response, the Union began to fracture. It began with Albania withdrawing in January of 1980, followed by Wallachia in March. Wallachia did not so much as secede as it was taken control of from within by the Ceausescu Junta. By April, the Third Union was dissolved, and Croatian forced moved to occupy Bosnia while Albania split.
The Romanian Empire
On January 7, 1980, the Romanian Nation was founded by a military junta commanded by Nicolae Ceausescu. Romania was first established by simultaneous coups in Transylvania and Moldova. The Romanian National Front was a nationalistic movement with occult undertones. The society saw the Romanian people as the lost children of Rome and Byzantium. They also traced their alleged roots back to mythological times, and had racial views not unlike the National Socialists of forty year earlier. The fact that the original Roman genes had long since been replaced by genetic Slavs did not even factor into their racial superiority dogma.
A third state was added to Nation when Wallachia seceded from the Balkan Union, following a pro-Ceausescu coup. On May 8, 1980, the three states, under the same guiding hand signed the Treaty of Unification, establishing Romania as a state. The state was not to be a socialist republic, or any republic at all. Ceausescu saw himself as Caesar reincarnate, and on June 19, he declared himself Tsar Nicolae of the Romanian Empire. It was the first monarchy to be established since the Habsburgs took the throne of a restored Austria.
Romanian plans for empire were evident from the beginning. On February 14, 1981, the Romanians Army, with the Tsar in personal command, invaded Bulgaria. Factions sympathetic to Romanian goals did exist within the Bulgarian government, and even moved to press for union with the new state. The vote did pass Bulgaria’s lower chamber of parliament, but was blocked by the upper chamber. When the Romanians crossed the border, they would cross as liberators, freeing the people from the tyranny of the minority.
Romania’s invasion of Bulgaria has to be the most bloodless conquest of the Balkan Wars. For the most part, the Bulgarian Army did not resist and their Air Force remained grounded. Romanian infantry marched into Sofia on February 20. It is now known that a Fifth Column was planted the year before by Ceausescu and his followers. Many in the government were appointed by a pro-unification president. When the Romanians crossed the border, no orders were issued calling for the Army to fight.
It soon became clear that it was indeed a Tyranny of the Minority. However, it was not in Romania’s favor. The minority were the pro-unification faction. The bulk of Bulgaria’s masses were against Romanian occupation. The Tsar had hoped to add Bulgaria’s industrial capacity to his own, but wide-scale strikes broke out in late 1981, that brought the Bulgarian economy to a halt. When the Tsar attempted to use his army to end the strikes, full scale rioting engulfed Sofia for three days. It was only after additional army units were flown in from Romania that the rioters were dispersed, and an addition week was required to extinguish the fires.
Strikes continued into 1982 and 1983. Ceausescu was forced to import Romanian workers to take over the industry, causing a worker shortage within his own kingdom. By 1984, Romania’s position in Bulgaria was no longer practical to hold. The Tsar had some concerns about other Romanian state attempting to secede, but with enough of his own people in position, Romania remained united. By June 29, 1984, the last of the Romanian soldiers left Bulgaria, and it was "granted" its independence from Bucharest.
The occupation of Bulgaria put severe strains on the Romanian economy. Ceausescu worried that the withdrawal might be seen as a weakness and exploited by his neighbors. Over the next five years, the annual budget for the Romanian Military rose to 37% of Romania’s income. The Tsar began to show signs of mental instability in 1987, when he declared before parliament that not only would Romania have an army to rival Greece, but it shall have one to rival even Sweden. As Army and Air Force grew, civilian spending power declined. By 1989, the last year of the Empire, more than forty percent of the nation’s inhabitants lived below the poverty level. Food and supply shortages popped up in every city, and the nation’s children began to go hungry.
The final straw came in October of 1989. With deficit spending at its end, the Tsar began to make cuts to support his bloated army. Cuts from education, healthcare and unemployment. To this, the people of Bucharest rose up and stormed the palace with the same force as the French had in 1789. Fighting broke out across Bucharest, with Ceausescu’s diehard supports fighting elements of the army that would rather see him deposed. His madness over the previous two years prompted many in the higher levels of the military to begin plotting his downfall. They feared that with all his spending on the army, that the Tsar might actually be foolhardy enough to start a war with Greece, or God forbid, Sweden. In either case, the international community would be against them, and in the end Romania would lose. A defeat would spell the end of the new unified nations.
On October 8, the fighting in the palace was over, when General Michael Romani captured the Tsar and put him before an impromptu people’s court. After finding him guilty of treason against the people in a half-hour trial, Ceausescu was taken into the courtyard and shot. Several more executions followed, including the murder of his sons and heirs. The next month filled Romania with the 20th Century pastime in the Balkans; endless purges. By December, the monarchy was abolished and a military dictatorship installed until such time as elections can be arranged. This period lasted until Romania joined the Fourth Balkan Union. They applied for admission on the last day of 1989.
The Serbian Empire
Romania was not the only country with dreams of empire. Once again, Serbia rose up and took notice at her neighbor’s lands. As a rule of thumb in Balkan regional dynamics, it appears mandatory for Serbia to grab the land around her once per decade. However, Serbia did not start out to become a monarchy. Instead, this empire was ruled by the Communist Party of Serbia with goals of a Greater Serbia. No longer did Serbia desire, nor contain the ability to, rule all of the Balkans.
The Unification of the Serbian people began in 1982, with Serbia’s intervention in the growing Bosnian Civil War. By the 1980s, the ethnic distribution of Bosnia was divided sharply, with the Serbs living in the provinces bordering Serbia. Croats attempt at taking total control of the country forced a stream of Serb refugees to flood into Serbia. The humanitarian plight was just the justification Belgrade required to invade Bosnia without turning the international community against them. Though it was not as if Serbia required either justification or support. For once its invasion of Bosnia was not condemned.
For two years, Serbia pressed its way into Bosnia, and once again the country was torn apart by warfare. Croatia pressed back against Serbian advances, retaking city’s occupied by the Serbians, and lashing out against the populace. In the case of Banja Luka, retaken by Croats on May 19, 1985, the Croats executed hundreds of Serbs and Bosniaks. Among the dead were dozens of Croats declared collaborators. When the town was again taken back by Serbia, on July 25, the atrocity was exposed to the world.
In response to the massacre, Belgrade decided to take a more direct approach to the Croat problem. On August 29, two divisions of the Serbian Army crossed the border into eastern Croatia. For three years Croatia and Serbia fought along a static front. The war would have continued to this day, if not for the fall of the Croatian government. Milan Kucan, follower of Tito back in the 1970s, lead a coalition that came to power in Zagreb. Peace talks between Croatia and Serbia lead to a division of Bosnia that exists to this day.
The Treaty of Split effectively partitioned Bosnia. The Serbian portion of the country was fully integrated into Greater Serbia. After 1993, when Serbian Premier Slobodan Milosevic staged a coup against the parliament and declared himself Emperor, or Tsar of Serbia, Serbia began a full scale effort to expel not on Bosniak and Croats, but also all Albanians from the portions of Kosovo under Belgrade’s control. Albania attempted to prevent the expulsion, but to little effect. Serbia of the 1990s was far stronger than the Serbia of the 1970s. The Serbian Empire survived the turn of the century, with Tsar Slobodan still in power as of 2009. The part of Bosnia under Croatia’s control accepted the Bosniak refugees and became the cornerstone of the Fourth Balkan Union.
The Fourth Union
The current incarnation of the Union of Balkan Socialist Republics came into life on December 8, 1988, when Croatia, Bosnia and free Montenegro signed the Zagreb Accords. Bulgaria ratified the Accords on December 19, becoming the fourth member. Following the toppling of Ceausescu from the throne, Romania joined the new Union in 1989. Romania’s revolution and ascension to the Fourth Union often marks the end of the Balkan Wars. The 1990s, despite ethnic cleansing in Greater Serbia, was the first regional peace in fifty years. The Balkan Union also acts as an effective counter to the Serbian Empire, forcing a balance of power in the Balkans.
With peace, albeit a cold peace, in effect, the Balkan Union began rebuilding once again. This time, the outside world took an interest in the Union, despite it being a communist state. China, under the People’s Dynasty, is the biggest investor in the Union, followed by Sweden and Italy in a distant third. In 1994, Greece hosted a general peace conference for all the Balkan states. The Athens Pact, negotiated over a five month period, finally settled borders between all the Balkan states. The Pact also guarantees the movement of ethnicities out of states where they are majority and into their ethnic homelands. This last piece was inserted by Serbia as a condition for them to sign. It also permits their acts of purification in a legal sense.
The Balkan Union became the third of the Balkan States, after Greece and Hungary, to join the United Nations in 1996. As per Union wishes, a UN peace-keeping force of five thousand international soldiers patrol the border with Serbia. Even a company of Austrian soldiers were welcomed by General-Secretary Kucan personally. The Austrian tour of duty lasted between 1998-99, with no repeat to this date. For the most part, the peacekeepers consisted of UN members without power projections; such as Kurdistan, Chile and even Vietnam.
Foreign investment within the Balkan Union has risen to twelve billion dollars by 2005, with much of it going into developing the Ploesti oil fields, which suffered from lack of proper maintenance during the Empire-era in Romania. Further investment rebuilt the roads in Croatia and Bosnia. France and Britain signed free trade agreements with the communist state, and began to outsource some of their industries to the cheaper labor of the Balkan Union. The I.B.W. appreciated the irony of the ‘capitalist fat cats’ own greed being used to power the Worker’s State’. The Balkan Union even hammered out an agreement with the VOC, for use of the Union’s Black Sea ports in exchange for technical support and modernizing facilities on the Romanian and Bulgarian coasts. The VOC uses these new ports as a base to protect the oil flowing out of Armenia.
The Balkan Union’s future remains uncertain. Despite two decades of peace, the concentration of ethnicities in ethnic homelands could still tear the Union apart. Attempts to expand the Union have thus far failed. Kucan extended membership offers to Hungary, Albania and even Greece. In response, Tsar Slobodan accused Kucan of attempting to surround Serbia, and such an arrangement would not be tolerated by Greater Serbia. Some say a war between the Union and Serbia during the 21st Century is inevitable; only time will tell.

The Kiat
April 13th, 2010, 07:27 PM
XVII) Supremacy
(2009-2043)
Dawn of the New Millennia
As with the two previous centuries, the Dutch people entered it the commercial power of the world. The combined industrial output of the Dutch Commonwealth surpassed any individual nation of Earth. However, with current growth trends, this will not be the case for the rest of the 21st Century. At its current rate of growth, China is projected to surpass the United States in the 2030s and the Dutch Commonwealth by the middle of the century. The rise of China back to the same peaks it has held in the past is cause for concern in the United Provinces and other members of the Commonwealth.
At the start of the 21st Century, the planet’s resources have reached the point of maximum crunch. Steel, aluminum and oil productions neared their peaks, and with the growing industrial appetite of the People’ Dynasty, it was clear as day that there would not be enough to go around. The most pessimistic of economists project that easily obtained resources would be depleted by the 22nd Century at current rates of consumption.
Ramped consumerism threatened to drain Earth of the resources required to sustain current industrial outputs. The start of the 21st Century was a time of great uncertainty as World Powers grew and the world itself effectively shrank. Like with spices four centuries earlier, entrepreneurs looked outward for new sources of minerals wealth to power the industrial mechanisms of Earth. First among them was a relatively new branch of the VOC, VOC Stars. By the middle of the century, a space rush was underway.
The Information Revolution
Communication technology in the 1990s under went a rapid change. At the start of the decade, communication involved telephones and fax machines connected via copper cables. By 2000, wireless technology miniaturized to the point were cellular telephones were smaller than the human hand, and portable computers could communicate with each other across the world via the communication satellite constellation. Such revolutionary change in technology had serious impacts on society and politics. And the way nations waged war.
The Dutch Commonwealth was one of the many participants in an arms race in the early Twenty-First Century, eerily reminiscent of the same arms race the precluded the Great War. Instead of building larger and more battleships, the aim in this race was to produce a smarter weapon. By 2010, the Commonwealth had produced missiles that could hit a target anywhere in the world with a meter of where it aimed. New laser-guided missiles were capable of penetrating a window in the side of a building.
The advance computing technology went a long ways to automate much of modern warfare. The Commonwealth Navy refit all of its older ships with new Central Intelligences, a system to link all the weapons of a fleet to a single button. Coupled with communication and observation satellites, for the first time in history it was quite possible for the Dutch Monarch to personally control the entire battlefield. Queen Beatrix never exercised her right to command a battle, for no major conflict involving the Dutch Commonwealth occurred during her reign.
Widespread information networks extended the collective knowledge of humanity to the masses. For the first time in history, anything anybody could ever want to know was only a mouse click away. Despite its beneficial use, networks were given over to entertainment. This boasted software companies world-wide, lead by the American corporation Microsoft. Microsoft was one of the few companies in history to actually cause a foreign product to take the number one position in sells within the Dutch Commonwealth.
Peak Oil
By 2010, the oil reserves of Earth hit their peak production. Following this year, oil supplies would continue to drop until not a drop was left. With its demand in fuel and plastics production, oil was one of the key strategic resources in industrialized society. The Dutch Commonwealth’s supply was secure via its members, the Principality of Java, State of Indonesia and Kingdom of Angola. The United Provinces had its own supply of oil off shore. Large deposits were discovered in the North Sea during the 20th Century, causing both the United Provinces and the United Kingdom to an oil rush.
Around the world, the rush to develop alternative fuel sources was in full swing during the start of the 21st Century. In the United Provinces, the electric car gained a great deal of popularity. Being such a relatively small nation, and with an extensive rail network already in place for inter-provincial travel, the demand for long-range vehicles was low. Further more, the streets in the United Provinces were designed centuries ago with humans and horses in mind, and would not support the larger automobiles of the United States, Germany or Brazil. The largest cars in the United Provinces were designed to hold five passengers. With birthrates hitting an all time low, just barely remaining in the positive, large, family vehicles had no market in the Provinces.
In Brazil, and other members of the Dutch Commonwealth, advances in fuel cell technology gradually replaced gasoline engines. However, it did not replace the need for oil. Much of the hydrogen extracted was done so from hydrocarbon sources. It slowed the demand of oil, but only enough to extend the supply a decade at the most. Not all of the world’s oil supply was under the control of the World Powers, which would lead to new wave of colonialism and interventions.
War of Arabian Unification
In 2010, when the King of Arabia, Abdul bin Selim al Saud, decided on a change in trade policy, he peaked the ire of the World Powers. No longer would Arabia accept paper currencies. With oil supplies limited, the King decided he would only accept gold, silver and other precious metals for oil. Since the World Powers depended on their own gold stockpiles to back up their currencies, such an arrangement was untenable.
Dutch Commonwealth involvement in the War of Unification was limited. The United Arab Emirates, former protectorate of the Dutch, and regional friend, were backed up by a Commonwealth task force sent from Ceylon, along with two regiments of Commonwealth Marines, once the situation in the Kingdom of Arabia exploded. The fact that these forces were in place meant the Commonwealth knew of the plans for revolution.
Despite low taxes and free education, the Arabs within the Kingdom were not all happy with the House of Saud. Many wished to overthrow the King. Of these, a majority wished union with their brothers in the north. A fringe group sought to establish a theological state over the Muslim heartland. Over the past decade, agents of the Arab Republic’s Ba’ath Party have infiltrated into the Kingdom of Arabia, establishing branch parties and even Fifth Column movements. Along, the Republic could not hope to tackle the Kingdom.
However, Damascus had help in the form of France and the United States. These were the two largest customers of the Arabian Peninsular, and neither were about to part with the gold. However, neither had sufficient domestic supplies of oil. In the case of France, virtually no domestic oil. The United States reached peak oil back in the 1980s, and were scrambling to take control of the Gulf of Texas, and would alter take control of Mexico and its oil supply, was starting to run out.
In 2010, the two World Powers backed the Arab Republic and the Ba’athists in the Kingdom in their move to topple the Saudis. The Revolution was violent, cumulating with the massacre of the royal family, and short. Within three weeks, the Ba’athists were in control of the Kingdom, and called for a referendum for annexation to the Arab Republic. To win over some of the Kingdom’s nationalists, the referendum technically called for unification and the formation of the United Arab Republic. During the chaos of revolution and unification, which passed with some 61% of votes in favor, the U.A.E., backed by the Commonwealth, seized for themselves vast tracks of the south-east corner of the peninsula for themselves. Being mostly empty lands, an arrangement was made between the Emirates and Republic, or more precisely, between the Commonwealth and the Republic’s powerful backers. Once the United Arab Republic was formed, the oil began to flow to foreign markets, paid for by foreign currency.
Demographic Bomb
By 2010, almost half of the population of the United Provinces, New Zeeland and New Holland, and nearly thirty percent of Brazil and the Boer Republics were nearing the age of retirement. When they ceased working, the industrial output of all countries named would sag. With retirement approaching, the Count of Zeeland, in an address to the Staaten-General warned that ‘a demographic bomb was about to explode’. When they retired, the strain on businesses that paid pensions to lifelong workers would severely cut into their profits. A few even warned of economic depression when the demographic bomb detonated.
The Dutch were not the only people who were affected by the demographic bomb. However, the German Empire and United Kingdom depended on income taxes for a substantial portion of their income. In 2010, only 10% of the United Provinces’ budget was derived from income taxes. A bulk of their revenue still came from tariffs and corporate taxes (albeit small compared to other nations). Further concerns on how one was going to pay for the medical care of millions of Netherlands who were no longer productive citizens grew within the Senaat.
The mass retirement did cause a downtown in the global economy as demands for luxury goods decreased by five percent. Factories need not lay off workers since the numbers retiring exceeded the numbers that would have required termination. However, profits did suffer as many businesses, which had life-long contracts with workers now retired, including pensions and insurance. The increasing life expectancy added to the percentage of Netherlanders no longer contributing to society.
There were some calls within the House of Electorates for the Dutch Government to provide financial security for its older citizens. Similar social programs were already enacted in India and Formosa since the 1980s, and in Ceylon and Abyssinia during the 1990s. However, the United Provinces, Brazil and especially the self-reliant Boers, resisted such movements within their own government. For the Boers, it was hardest, since their whole governments were elected by the people. There was no maximum age limit for voters.
During the second decade of the 21st Century, something happened in the United Provinces that never happened before; the private sector demanded health. The Dutch have never been a people with any use for welfare or any other sort of ‘Socialism’, despite experiments back in the 1960s. However, with such a large percentage of Netherlanders approached retirement age, businesses required aid to prevent themselves from imploding under the benefits and pensions that would be delivered to life-long employees. Though businesses would not get all they required, the Staaten-General reluctantly agreed to broker loans to keep these companies afloat.
King William VIII
Born Willem Alexander van Oranje on April 27, 1967, served in the Senaat in his capacities as the Grand Prince of Norway, and on the United Provinces’ Olympic committee, securing the 2000 Olympics for Amsterdam, until December 21, 2012, when Beatrix, reigning for thirty-two years collapsed and was rushed to the hospital in Delft. She was announced dead on arrival from cardiac failure. The Dutch press picked up on the irony of their queen dying on the same day the ancient Mayan calender cycle ended.
William VIII graduated from the Naval Academy in Recife in 1989, the same year that the Balkan Wars died down. He rose to the rank of Commander, and was serving as Executive Officer on board the DCS King Maurice I, when news reached him that he was now King and would be crowned as soon as he returned to the United Provinces. William was first crowned Emperor of Brazil, when his ship returned to port in Recife, capital of Brazil. During the year of 2013, he traveled to each of the monarchies in personal union with the United Provinces and received their crowns as well.
On the issue of supporting business during the demographic bomb, King William VIII was on the opposite end of the debate from the Staaten-General. He did not wish to lend a single guilder to companies that dug their own holes. Regarding retirement, the King declared that is was the responsibility of the individual to prepare for their own jobless future. He further pointed out that the United Provinces, or any other member of the Dutch Commonwealth could not withstand the stress upon their budgets to support such a large class of nonproductive citizens. The people work their whole lives to make the world a better place for future generations, not so that they can twiddle their remaining years away.
In running his countries, William VIII had the cold heart of an accountant. He saw costs and benefits, and pushed the ordeal of the person from his mind. To survive the demographic bomb without crippling the United Provinces’ economy, he had to solve problems with his mind, not his heart. It was what the world needed, not what it wanted. Other countries faced similar crises. When Spain attempted to subsidize its retiring class, its entire economy collapsed as less than 40% of the population were able to be employed. The resulting chaos on the Iberian Peninsula was the first international crisis the new king had to face.
Iberianization
In 2015, the federal government in Madrid collapsed, and other states went the way of the Basque Republic during the 1980s. Catalonia was the first to secede, followed by Leon. Soon the Republic of Spain ceased to exist, and a dozen smaller states materialized, vying for power. In the case of Portugal, whose dictator proclaimed he would rebuild the former glories of his nation, it never existed long enough to establish embassies. On September 11, 2015, the Dutch Commonwealth landed an expeditionary force in Portugal. Air strikes on Lisbon on the following day killed the would-be king, and eliminated his inner circle. The second attempt at Portuguese Restoration was eliminated before it even began.
The invasion of Portugal was preceded by two months worth of piracy and terrorist attacks on Dutch interests. The dictator, a former Spanish General named Luis Ramalo, declared that he would restore what was taken from his country centuries before. This was a boast the William VIII and the Staaten-General took very seriously. Ramalo was nearly removed from the picture before he even started, when on July 19, the Portugese Navy sent two frigates to intercept a VOC convoy. Destruction of VOC property prompted the company to draw up plans to retaliate. It was only William’s intervention that prevented the VOC from raising Lisbon to the ground as a nest of pirates.
Portugal offered little resistance to the Dutch invasion, and was completely under the control of the United Provinces by the start of 2016. The Staaten-General voted to annex Portugal directly, along with lands on the southern shore of Iberia. Andalusia agreed to sell land near the Strait of Gibraltar that the Commonwealth could use to preserve its Mediterranean trade routes. Dutch expansion in Iberia continued when it took Asterias as a protectorate, to prevent it from falling to the French.
The French invaded the lands formerly known as Spain nearly as soon as the Spanish Parliament dissolved itself. Its occupation of Aragon was complete by February of 2016, and it looked westward to establish bases on the Atlantic. Italy was another player in the Iberianization of Spain, when it invaded Catalonia, reducing the state into an Italian colony. The collapse of the Spanish state was celebrated in the more nationalistic circles within the United Provinces, as the final destruction of an age old enemy.
Dwindling Resources
With more than two centuries of industrialization behind it, civilization soon came up against a barrier. The majority of resources required to maintain such a civilization that were easily obtained were nearly depleted. To gain more iron to feed the steel industry, mines must be dug deeper, and in more remote locations. Sweden had an advantage that none of the Commonwealth Members possessed; vast tracks of Siberia rich in mineral wealth. For the Dutch, mines in Brazil, New Holland and India were expanded, and new sources sought. These new veins were not as rich, and profits margins would shrink. More over, though resources gradually dropped in availability, demand continued to rise.
With over a billion inhabitants, China was the fasted growing consumer of steel, and most every other metal, in the world. The Indian Empire was in a close second, with its manpower potentials finally realized after a century of struggle. The United States, with its own resources dwindling and no sign of its industrial base weakening, also sought new sources of raw material. Despite its peace treaty with Britain, Americans looked northward to untapped sources in Canada.
Not all looked to their neighbors for new sources of material. William VIII looked up and outward. When showed the content of a near-Earth asteroid, he exclaimed that single rock had enough iron to supply the world’s steel industry for half a year. The reality that the nearly endless supply of metals in space would be the wave of the future. It would not solve the immediate fuel crisis, but it would be enough to allow society to continue. In 2025, an American mission to an Earth-crossing asteroid brought back samples of nickle, iron and even traces of gold.
The thought of hundreds of tonnes of gold being mined in space horrified Amsterdam’s financial community. Gold was valuable because it was rare. Flooding the market with new sources of gold would devalue the world’s currency. Many bankers were reluctant to authorize loans to any space-mining operation. Instead, they invested on underwater mining. Aside from oil and methane from the North Sea, several mining companies began to tap deposits of bauxite discovered off the coast of Brazil. With more exploration, veins of iron, chromium and bauxite were also discovered in less than fifty meters of water off the coast of Brazil.
City Beneath the Wave
With the opening of several mines off the coast of Cayenne, the first under water city was established in 2033. The city of Atlantis was little more than barracks, cafeteria and a supply store built from containers that were hauled out to the mines and sunk to the sea floor. Air locks connected the containers to the shaft mines. Space agencies and private companies seeking to establish themselves in space, invested in this land rush beneath the sea. Technology developed to allow humans to survive under the sea would also benefit those seeking to leave Earth all together.
The output of Atlantis was meager in comparison to open pit mines in Sweden and the United States. Despite its low but steady output and marginal profits, Atlantis proved it was possible to tap the sea floor. Within ten years of Atlantis’s opening, dozens of submarine colonies and thousands of colonists called the land beneath the Atlantic home. America’s frontier mentality allowed the Americans to take the lead in sea floor colonization. By 2050, over a hundred communities lived beneath the waves of the Gulf of Texas and the Carribean Sea, production ranging from mining to oil to aquiculture. A great deal of tourism spread through these cities, and as New Orleans was gradually reclaimed by the sea, the bulk of settlers came from that drowned city.
In the North Sea, the United Provinces did not look to settle the sea floor. Instead, they brought the sea floor to them. By 2030, the Ijsslemeer1 was nothing but a memory and Amsterdam was connected to the North Sea via a network of channels and artificial canals. In Friesland, the West Friesland Islands were connected to the mainland as the water was pumped out of newly reclaimed lands. In comparison with other European nations, the United Provinces paid a proportionally higher amount of their budget on infrastructure, mostly in the form of maintaining sea walls and levies against an increasingly angry sea.
Fuel of the Future
On September 17, 2033, the first commercial fusion reactor came on line in Mumbai, India. Where the United Provinces and Brazil already had an established power network, focused their attention on increasing efficiency and prevent power loss along the transmission lines. India’s power hunger increased nearly as fast as China, with projections in 2030 that a new coal-fired or fission reactor would have to be opened every two months in order to feed the demand.
A decade long research project from the University of Mumbai, funded by the Indian Government and energy companies, such as the VOC, set its goal of making fusion power economically viable. Since the dawn of the 21st Century, fusion reactors were online around the world. However, these experimental reactors seldom broke even in energy production, and when they did, they failed to generate enough power to be useful. In Mumbai, the researchers set their goal at a 50 MW generator.
Professor Hermann Vandjirasik, born some fifty years earlier, lead the project. He was not so much a brilliant engineer as an excellent salesman. He was the one who procured the funding for the fusion reactor, while those beneath him dealt with design and construction. On December 7, 2032, the reactor was turned on for the first time, and reached a 43 MW output. This deficiency delayed its official activation by several months.
Its eventual activation added only a minor amount of power to India’s total consumption. However, its design soon spread around the world and fifteen fusion reactors were operational by 2040. Another hundred were online before the middle of the century. Replacing thousands of coal-fired and oil plants would take decades, and that was not counting the continued increase in demand. Plans in India, Abyssinia, the Boer Republics and Brazil called for the fossil fuel powered plants to be replaced by fusion and even solar satellites, when their lifespans ended. Until then, which some coal-fire plants were designed to last a century, the would continue to add to the Carbon Dioxide content of the atmosphere.
Lunar Expansion
By 2030, some two thousand persons lived in an expanded Fort Recife. With fusion power around the corner, serious investment was put into extracting Helium-3 from the lunar regolith. Fusion fuels on Earth were limited, and once all of Earth’s power was generated by fusion, a large supply of hydrogen and helium isotopes would be required. Some dreamers saw the Outer Planets as an endless supply of fuel. Among these, even the most optimistic dreamers knew such plans would be a century away at the very least.
The initial limitations to colonizing the moon came from the cost of reaching orbit. Once in orbit, reaching Luna was relatively simple. In 2021, Lockheed-Convair produced a prototype Heavy Lifter. It was the first truly reusable spacecraft, not requiring any of its hull to be replaced for at least one hundred launches.2 It was also the largest rocket ever built. The Heavy Lifter had both the size and general shape of the Great Pyramids at Giza. The engines were so powerful, that upon launch, the Heavy Lifter would melt its own launch pad. The space craft is redesigned to have dozens of smaller engines instead of five larger ones. This allows for it to take-off and land at more ports, and allows for more backup in case an engine failed.
The Heavy Lifter’s true benefit came from its fuel efficiency. A Heavy Lifter was proven capable, in 2024, of taking off Earth, flying to Luna, landing, loading cargo, taking off for Earth and landing again without the need to refuel. Its only drawback was that it carried so much fuel that it limited its cargo capacity. Only fifty tonnes of cargo could be carried into and out of space one the first Heavy Lifters. The biggest gain off the Heavy Lifter was that it reduced launches by a factor of five.
For the first time, it became economically viable to launch tourists into space. Once that market opened, and enough entrepreneurs invested sufficient capital, space hotels began to spring up in low Earth orbit. The moon was still a ways off for any tourist who wished not to take a one way flight to the research colonies upon its surface. Space-based industry was not as successful as the scientific and entertainment ventures. It boiled down to cost. Why would a Netherlander, or any person, but a high quality product made in space, when they could purchase an adequate product made on Earth, for a fraction of the price.
Industry on the Moon was more local consumption than exportation to Earth. The research colonies, funded either by universities or private ventures, extract sufficient hydrates from the lunar regolith and polar regions to supply their own needs. Immigration to the moon was a rarity during the 21st Century. The only way anybody managed to voyage to Luna, was to join the communities growing there. Fort Recife was established in the late 20th Century, in search of new sources of metals and energies. By 2020, some five hundred people lived in the vastly expanded colony. The arrival of plasma torches on the moon allowed the colony to go underground. Manmade tunnels and caverns spanned two square kilometers around the surface installations.
In 2005, the first American colony on the moon was established by the Gates Foundation. The Foundation was created by Bill Gates, founded of Microsoft, and dedicated to progress in technology and expansion of humanity into new frontiers. These frontiers were not always physical ones, such as the sea floor and space; it also included new fields of sciences and new technologies, such as genetic engineering and nanotechnology. Gatestown started out as seven habitat modules landed in the Sea of Tranquility, not far from the Apollo XI landing site. The site was not chosen solely for patriotic sentiment; it was believed that tourism would eventually leave low Earth orbit and reach out to the moon. Any American who visited Luna would no doubt wish to visit that first landing.
The first child born on the moon was born in Gatestown in 2016 to a couple of Italians astronauts. The birth of children on a new world made colonization real. Some concern existed on whether or not the child would be able to return to Earth because it was born on Luna. It was only the worst case scenario, though evolving on Earth, the human species are well adapted to survive in its climate. The first natural born Lunars did not grow tall in low gravity3, but did have under-developed skeletons. With extensive conditioning, they were capable of returning to the homeworld, though none chose this course of action.
A third nation established a research colony upon the moon by 2020. The German Empire founded Braunstadt in early 2010. It was smaller, and far more spartan than either American or Commonwealth city. However, it was built at the south pole, where solar cells could be left in perpetual sunlight, and higher concentrations of water was defused from the regolith. Braunstadt was not as much a research station like Fort Recife or Gatestown. When Braunstadt was inaugurated, it immediately began exporting high quality aluminum and titanium back to the Fatherland.
Fierce Competition
By 2030, newly industrializing countries were looking to expand their borders, the same way European nations did two centuries before. The largest menace to stability came from the every-hungry industry of China. In 2029, the Chinese invaded Korea after a revolution the previous year toppled its former Beijing-friendly communist regime. Much protest came from around the world, and the United Nations voted to condemn the act of aggression. However, since the most powerful countries in the world never signed the Outer Space Treaty, and overtly have laid claims on the moon the UN lacked the authority and prestige it once possessed.
In response, the People’s Republic of China, along with the reinstated People’s Republic of Korea, Indochina, Burma and Kamchatka, withdrew from the United Nations. China began treating its minor allies as colonies. The most aggressive act was the annexation of Sakhalin from Kamchatka. China moved operations into the Sea of Ohkost, in search of oil and methane deposits beneath the sea floor. Such actions forced Japan to begin arming its oil platforms and beef up patrols in the seas to its north.
The Dutch Commonwealth viewed China’s expansion with suspicion and caution. Indonesia and Java were still producing oil, and gas deposits between Hainan and Formosa might also tempt the Chinese to look south. It would not be the first time; the Japanese did the exact same thing nearly a century earlier. Sweden took far more drastic actions, by sealing its long frontier with China. Not all the resources in Siberia were depleted, and hundreds of thousands of Swedish soldiers moved into the area to see that those resources go to Stockholm, not Beijing.
Sweden also fought a series of short wars against its southern, Turkish neighbors, seizing tracks of lands and immediately exploiting them. This drew further international condemnation, which caused Sweden to leave the United Nations. With two of the largest countries no longer members, many began to wonder if the UN was about to go the way of the League of Nations. The rest of the World Powers seldom heeded UN resolutions if they impeded their own progress.
Riga Conference
With the world’s oil supply dwindling, and hydrogen economy still in its infancy, the World Powers met in Riga on April 15, 2038, to divide the rest of the world’s oil amongst themselves. None of the countries that would be divided were invited. China would receive rights to drill in Kamchatka. Sweden the same in Central Asia. The United States was given a free hand in the Carribean, which is took full advantage of when it invaded Mexico in 2040. The French were granted rights to West Africa, the Germans granted rights to whatever supplies remain in the Balkans. Canada had sufficient reserves to supply the whole of the small British Commonwealth. The Dutch required no divisions, for Indonesia and Angola gave sufficient supplies to the Commonwealth and the North Sea directly to the United Provinces.
All nations agreed to share the Middle East, declaring the whole area a neutral zone. The Dutch Commonwealth abided by this, withdrawing supporting units from the United Arab Emirates to India. The UAE, United Arab Republic, Kurdistan and Armenia established the Petroleum Export Commission to regulate the remaining flow of petroleum to the World Powers. Antarctica was declared off limits. The United Provinces was at the forefront of this declaration, not so much because of environmental concerns as to the concerns of causing the ice cap to break, sea levels to rise, and flooding of the United Provinces. By 2038, the United Provinces had invested significantly in a sea wall defensive network.
The Riga Conference was the final nail in the coffin of the United Nations. When the UN Council voted in favor of a resolution denouncing the Conference, all parties to it withdrew membership. Without the funding and support of the World Powers, the UN became little more than a meeting room, now in Geneva, where minor countries could complain about how the big boys ignore them at best. The final session of the United Nations was held on August 30. 2039. Almost immediately upon its disbanding and disappearance of peace keepers, a dozen small wars broke out in Africa and South America. In the latter case, Brazil was able to restrain its neighbors. However, Central Africa exploded in violence, and the West African nations of Biafra, Nigeria and Benin were invaded by France.
These wars were local, and based more on ancient ethnic hatreds than hard economic reasoning. Massacres became so routine during the 2040s that the world’s news networks no longer bothered reporting on them. Africa plunged into a new dark age, with refugees trying to flee north across the Sahara, east to Abyssinia, and south to the stable southern Africa. Wars among the World Powers also became a reality, after nearly a century of peace between them. One point of the Riga Conference that was never, truly resolved was the rationing of the North Sea’s hydrocarbon supplies.
The United Provinces claimed access to the whole area, as did the British. The Conference did grant it to the United Provinces, but did not grant it exclusive rights. The British and Dutch governments attempted to demarcate the sea, dividing the sea floor between the two powers. However, with Norway part of the United Provinces, the British believed the Dutch were relieving and unfair slice of the oil pie. In March of 2039, the two nations met at Calais, in an attempt to permanently divide the North Sea. The British already had to colonies on the sea floor, some ten kilometers and seventeen kilometers off its shores respectively. Seatown, the latter of the two, sat near the straight of Dover, and close enough to the continent that it would fall under Dutch influence.
To the British, surrendering one of their expensive, underwater colonies was not an option. To the Dutch, allowing a maritime rival to have its fingers in the United Provinces’ pie, was equally unacceptable. Tensions between the two nations peaked in April as the British began to drill in an area clearly marked as Dutch. Their platform tapped the Dutch oil field via slanted drilling. This way, the British stayed on their side of the proposed line, while still tapping the fuel its own island economy required. An emergency summit held in Bremen failed to resolve the issue, as King William VIII told Britain’s own William IV, that only by ceasing operations could the crisis be resolved. Both Williams left Bremen without resolving the issue. Both also knew that war was imminent.
The Third Anglo-Dutch War
In response to the diagonal drilling, the VOC, on September 11, 2039, sent the VOC Golden Hind, a frigate, along with several hovercraft, to seize the oil rig and shut it down. Acting without consent or even informing the Staaten-General, the VOC acted to save its own oil wells. There was little resistance on the platform, and it fell without casualties. In London, Britain’s parliament was in an outrage. The fact that sovereign British territory was under foreign occupation was enough to galvanize the often disagreeable assembly to action. Royal Marines struck back at the VOC, only to be repelled.
One week after this failed attack, the VOC had sealed the well and destroyed the platform, before retreating back to its own platform. This act of piracy on the high seas caused the United Kingdom to recall its ambassadors to the Dutch Commonwealth. By Christmas, the Dutch had closed their embassies in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. By the start of 2040, oil companies were fighting each other on the North Sea, using their own security or hiring mercenaries to defend their assets and attack their competition. These attacks did not always cross borders. To rival British petroleum giants, BP and the North Sea Corporation, traded their own shots over an oil field off the coast of Scotland. On the Dutch side, the VOC regulated the minor Dutch drillers, who had little choice but to sell what they extract to VOC Oil.
On January 12, 2040, London sent an ultimatum to the Hague; cease piracy in the North Sea in forty-eight hours, or we will do it for you. It was a similar warning the Dutch sent to the former Emperor of Ethiopia in the 19th Century, when pirates threatened trade through the Suez Canal. Unlike that ancient African kingdom, the Dutch were in a position to stand up to British threats. There were already calls in the Staaten-General to police the North Sea, but the fact that the British, an age old rival, was making demands, had an opposite effect on the Dutch people.
Two days passed without incident. Then the third. On the fourth day a BP tanker crossed the demarcation line and was fired upon by a Dutch oil platform. The tanker suffered only slight damage and no loss of cargo. For London, this was the final straw. On January 18, the United Kingdom and its own miniature commonwealth declared war upon the United Provinces. The Royal Air Force wasted no time in attacking Dutch platforms near its sector of the North Sea. Attacking Dutch platforms in Dutch water sparked a similar declaration from the Dutch Commonwealth. After more than three centuries, a Third Anglo-Dutch War had begun.
Raid on Scapa Flow
During the first two weeks of the war, the Royal Navy massed at its anchorage in Scapa Flow. The Royal Air Force had already sank three empty Dutch tankers and disabled four of their drilling platforms. Skirmishes between patrol boats happened on a daily basis, with casualties adding. The Commonwealth High Command knew that if the Royal Navy sortied into the North Sea, the losses would be tremendous. On February 1, King William VIII approved a plan of attack on the Royal Navy’s primary base of operation. The Commonwealth Navy hoped to completely clear the Royal Navy from the North Sea in a single afternoon.
The Commonwealth fleet, consisting of two aircraft carriers, two battleships, four cruisers and a dozen destroyers, along with three submarines scouting ahead, set sail from Rotterdam on January 30. The 1st Fleet, stationed in the United Provinces, went to full alert once the ultimatum was delivered. The High Command knew that the Commonwealth would not abide by demands of foreign powers, and that war would result. Nearly a century of peace between the European powers had not dulled their responses, however, the Commonwealth Navy spent the past decades battling pirates around the world. Not since World War II, had the Dutch Commonwealth Navy been involved in a major fleet-vs-fleet engagement.
The initial assault came in the form of over one hundred multi-purpose missiles launched from the DCS Prince of Oranje and King William III. The missiles were smaller than anti-ship missiles, but still caused considerable damage to the British anchorage. Two cruisers were destroyed outright, along with three destroyers and demolished the tank farm. Fires from burning petrochemicals obscured Scapa Flow from a follow up attack by aircraft off the DCS Karl Doorman. The air raid succeeded in destroying an addition cruiser and gutting an older British carrier in dry dock.
Despite damage caused to the British fleet and facilities, the raid on Scapa Flow was not the outstanding success that Dutch media announced. Commonwealth casualties were limited to a handful of aircraft shot down. British casualties, on the other hand, numbered over two thousand dead and as many wounded. The Royal Navy was not knocked out of the North Sea and the High Command had desired. Their ability to attack Dutch platforms was limited, but not halted. Two days later, the Royal Navy sortied and destroyed three oil rigs off the coast of Norway.
Battle of Spurnhead
The next time the two fleets met was on October 17, 2040, off the Yorkshire Coast. The Commonwealth fleet sortied in hopes of neutralizing British assets in the area and clearing the sector for furthering War Plan Rose. Admiral Count William van Holland hoped to force the Royal Navy into a single decisive battle, similar to those sought by the Royal Navy against the Germans during the Great War. Unlike that early 20th Century war, the Battle of Spurnhead was fought mostly over-the-horizon, with little visual contact.
At 0843, the Commonwealth Navy detected the lead elements of the Royal Navy steaming south. The first volley of anti-ship missiles were fired from a pair of leading Dutch destroyers. Most of the twenty missiles were shot down, with only one scoring a hit on a British destroyer. The Ajax had a ten meter hole punched in its hull, but remained afloat, albeit out of the battle. The British responded with its own missile salvo, sinking one of the Commonwealth destroyers.
The main fleets did not engage each other until 1042, when a squadron of JC-40s commenced a low-level attack against the Royal Navy. The JC-40, a stealth aircraft, was not detected until hands on the HMS Royal Oak’s flight deck spotted them visually. By then, the fighters were within anti-ship missile range. Each of the eight fighters carried a pair of short-range anti-ship missiles. Though most were shot down, two did score hits on the Royal Oak, including one that set off secondary explosions beneath the carrier’s flight deck, and blew off the forward twelve meters of the hull. The Royal Oak lost its ability to launch its own aircraft, which was van Holland’s intent.
At 1200, the Commonwealth launched a two hundred missile barrage at the Royal Navy. Ninety percent of the anti-ship missiles were downed by the British, with the remainder damaging most of the ships. Three hit the Royal Oak, gutting the ship and causing it to capsize. A British cruiser was blown apart when a warhead detonated within its own arsenal. After this barrage, van Holland saw victory just over the horizon.
At 1220, the Royal Navy launched its own missile barrage. Commonwealth ships shot down a higher percentage of British missiles, but not before six of them zeroed in on the DCS Prince of Java. The guided-missile battleship snapped in half, sinking with only fifteen survivors. Other Dutch ships suffered damage, including all the remaining battleships, and the catapult of the Maarten Tromp. At this point, van Holland could have pressed the attack and won. He would have lost more than the lone battleship, but it would have ended the war after only a year of conflict.
Instead, van Holland decided to cut his loses. From satellite and high-altitude reconnaissance, the Admiral knew the British were as badly hurt as he. Though their carrier was sunk, van Holland was in range of the Royal Air Force’s own bombers. The Commonwealth had with it two carriers and enough air power to secure air superiority in the immediate vicinity of the fleet, however the Royal Air Force could put up over two hundred aircraft. At 1240, van Holland ordered the fleet to withdraw deeper into the North Sea and areas were the Commonwealth Air Force could cover it.
Battle of Flamborough
More than a year passed before the main fleets of the British and Dutch Commonwealths met again in battle. Following the indecisive battle off Spurnhead, the air forces of both sides exchanged fire, raiding each others’ space and targeting airfields and other strategic military targets. With advance and accurate "smart" weapons, neither side suffered many civilian deaths. Secondary raids against armament factories and shipyards resulted in little stoppage for the Commonwealth war effort. With so much of its industrial power in Brazil and now India, the British could only hope to launch carrier-borne raids against such targets, with too high a cost to their own ranks.
On July 27, 2041, Admiral van Holland against sought to force the Royal Navy into a clearly decisive victory. More over, the Duke of Brabant had assembled an army of three divisions to make the initial landings of War Plan Rose. To invade Britain, the North Sea must become a Dutch lake. Following previous attacks, the Royal Navy in Britain’s home waters was somewhat reduced. One carrier and four cruisers were all that stood in the way of van Holland’s fleet of two carriers, two battleships and now seven cruisers. British Admiral Lesley Birken had hopes of striking the Dutch before they were ready. His hopes were quickly dashed.
Flying at wave-top levels, over one hundred anti-ship missiles, launched by the Commonwealth fleet, intercepted the Royal Navy some four kilometers off Flamborough Head at 0740. The missiles flew under radar, that coupled with the fact they were made from a slightly radar-absorbent material, made their early detection impossible. When the Royal Navy finally detected the missiles, they were less than a minute from impact. Anti-missiles and point-defense weaponry chewed through most of the missiles, as was custom in modern naval engagements, but as before, some breached the defenses. Four missiles struck the carrier, HMS Resolution, causing the ship to break into three pieces and quickly sink in the shallow waters.
All four cruisers were damaged by the initial attack, but none sunk. By the time their fires were under control, and weapons back on line, the Commonwealth Fleet was already in visual range. A rarity in the 21st Century, the two fleets engaged in close-range combat, using missiles and guns. The Commonwealth, with their two hundred millimeter chain guns had a decisive advantage over the Royal Navy’s cruisers. Three of the cruisers were chewed to pieces by a stream of 200mm shells hitting them two each second. The fourth cruiser was sunk by missiles while trying to escape, along with an addition four destroyers. For the first time in its history, the United Kingdom’s home fleet was destroyed, paving the way for invasion.
Raids
On August 2, following the victory at Flamborough Head, the 2nd Commonwealth Fleet, out of Brazil, launched an attack against the British Naval Base at Plymouth. Aircraft off the Michael de Ruyter and Prince Mandrick succeeded in destroying docks, and most of the shipyard, including a cruiser and two frigates nearing completion. Addition damage was done to Britain’s merchant fleet at dock, including two container ships left as burning hulks.
On August 8, the Royal Air Force retaliated with a large-scale attack on Amsterdam. Two hundred fighters flew over the city, causing havoc for the better part of an hour. The Commonwealth Air Force intercepted a number of the British fighters, and further numbers were downed by air defenses, but not before causing significant damage to the network of shipping canals that connect now land-locked Amsterdam and its facilities to the open sea. The shipyards in Amsterdam were completely destroyed. A few dikes were breached during the attack, flooding portions of the city. Most distressing of all, the Royal Air Force destroyed the four hundred year old VOC headquarters, killing a number of the Company’s executives.
Smaller raids continued for the remainder of August. The surviving executives of the VOC wanted to launch their own attack against government and financial targets in London, but were prevented by the Commonwealth High Command. The government made it clear that if a corporation attempted to take off from Dutch territory and attack civilian targets, not a single VOC fighter would be allowed to land. The High Command pushed ahead the time table for War Plan Rose, if for no other reason than to neutralize British airfields.
War Plan Rose
On August 15, 2041, an armada of hundreds of ships were spotted through the morning fog off the Yorkshire Coast. With the Royal Navy swept from the North Sea, the century-and-a-half war plan was finally activated. The initial landings of three Commonwealth Army divisions, under the command of the Duke of Brabant, Simon Meinkeil and Abdul Rajisiva, were virtually unopposed. A small observation post near the city of Bridlington surrendered at 0812, some forty-two minutes after the first Dutch soldier stepped foot upon British soil.
Unlike the raid on Medway, almost four centuries before, this invasion force had no intent on settling for the destruction of a shipyard. Its purpose was conquest. The first contact between Dutch and British land forces came on August 17, when a British armored battalion encountered the Armor of Rajisiva southeast of York. The skirmish was brief, ending with twice as many British tanks lost than Dutch. Commonwealth helicopters accounted for a majority of the armored kills.
Royal Air Force airfields in Yorkshire were pounded from the outset of the invasion until August 22, when the last field was in Dutch possession. The Royal Air Force ground crews put up a valiant fight, but where ill equipped to deal with full scale invasion. The city of York was declared open by its inhabitants, and fell to the Commonwealth on August 22. With the capture of proper port facilities in Yorkshire, the Commonwealth had two hundred thousand men ashore by the end of the month.
Dutch armor lead the spearhead across the island of Britannia. As was called for in the original War Plan Rose, the island was cut in half, England separated from Scotland. Dutch tanks rolled into Liverpool on October 3. The British were slothful in countering the invasion, for many in London believed the landings in Yorkshire were a sham, an attempt to draw British land forces north from a real invasion directed at London itself. This delay of full redeployment allowed for the United Kingdom to be cut in half. The Commonwealth did launch raids against targets around the Thames River, to foster this belief from Britain’s Generals.
During the winter months, little advance was made by the Dutch. This was partially do to the uncharacteristically abysmal weather of the winter of 2041-42. The previous decades saw much of the climate warming, with limited snowfall. The Commonwealth’s invasion force did not anticipate the blizzard that struck the island in November, and brought their drive southwestward on London to a halt. If not for this freak storm, the Commonwealth might have ended the war by Christmas. Instead, it drug on during the winter, with the Dutch making slow gains and the British digging in.
An attempt to cut off Commonwealth supplies was made in December, by a joint British-Canadian fleet sailing from Halifax. This fleet met up with the Commonwealth 2nd Fleet throughout the month of December, battling each other in the choppy North Atlantic. The advance of this fleet prompted Commonwealth Marines to land and secure the wrecked base at Scapa Flow, denying the British any access to the North Sea. The British-Canadian fleet lost only a destroyer in the month of combat, but expended sufficient ammunition to force it to return to Halifax. The Commonwealth suffered damage to the de Ruyter and an addition destroyer. Neither side attacked with the same ferocity of the engagements in the North Sea.
Battle of Oxford
By the start of February 2042, the weather had improved to the point where Dutch armor could continue its advance on London. By this date in the war, the British had organized an impressive ring of defenses around the capital. Blocking the advance of Rajisiva, was Field Marshall Bernard Vernon and the British Armored Corps. Vernon outnumbered Rajisiva in tanks and armored-personnel carriers, however by February, the Commonwealth Air Force achieved air superiority over central Britain.
The two forces met each other outside of Oxford on February 7, 2042. The British foresaw an easy victory, planning to ambush the Dutch tanks north of the city. However, the Commonwealth learned of this ambush from an observation satellite in low orbit. It was launched at the start of the year, and the British did not detect it until three days after the armored engagement, when they promptly shot it down. In mid-morning of February 7, some one hundred sixteen Commonwealth aircraft took off and converged on the British armor, carefully concealed just inside the suburbs of Oxford. The proceeding fight was a slaughter, with two hundred tanks destroyed from above, including the command center and Vernon. Leaderless, the British Armor Corps were in a state of confusion when Rajisiva attacked at noon.
The armored stage of the battle saw British tanks forced back into the suburbs of Oxford. Over the next two days, most of the British tanks were either destroyed, crippled or spent of ammunition and abandoned. The armored assault on Oxford was one of the largest catastrophes in British history, and only the beginning of the Battle of Oxford. One February 12, Commonwealth Armored Dragoons entered the city. Dismounting from their APCs, these dragoons fought the British defenders house-to-house and at a great loss to their own. Four thousand Commonwealth soldiers were killed taking the city.
As the suburbs fell into Dutch hands, the British fell back into the city proper, forcing the Dutch to conquer the city one block at a time. Despite widespread use of precision ordinance, Oxford suffered thousands of civilian casualties. The British media decried the attack on Oxford, and the world through its various news networks, received their first look at urban combat in the mid 21st Century. After decades of being feed footage of precision strikes, the public was appalled to see war up close and personal. Despite the outcries, both the Hague and London sent more soldiers into Oxford.
The British were forced to admit defeat by the start of March as the last of their forces were driven out south of the city and sent packing to Reading. With the fall of Oxford, the British government knew that it was only a matter of time, and a great deal of lives, before the Commonwealth banner flew over Buckingham Palace. The Dutch were not interested in annexing the island or reducing it to a colony. Nor did William VIII wished for the British people to suffer hardships. Two weeks after the fall of Oxford, Britain’s King William IV sent envoys to the Hague to seek terms to cession of hostilities.
Other Theaters
The Third Anglo-Dutch War was not limited to the North Sea. In shipping lanes across the North Atlantic, both sides used commerce raiders to break the other’s economy. A few minor fleet engagements happened over the vast stretches of the ocean. British ships operating out of Canada and Bermuda even launched raids against northern Brazil, the largest raid hitting Cayenne and damaging the war industry there. An attempt to shut down the Suez Canal by the British met with dismal failure and brought condemnation by the Egyptian government. The British dared not attempt the same with the Panama Canal, which though the Dutch had a large stake of it, was clearly in American territory.
Aside from Britain, land battles also took place on the Australian-New Holland frontier. The Outback offered wide tracts of territory, some of it ideal for armored engagements. An engagement between armored dragoons of both nations occurred at Schmidten Springs, twenty kilometers inside the border of New Holland. The British and Australians won this engagement and occupied the small town. The New Hollanders fought the Third Anglo-Dutch War almost entirely on the defensive, trading desert for time.
A more dangerous theater of war took place hundreds of kilometers above Earth’s surface. Since there was no British installations or colonies on the moon, Luna was in no danger of turning into a battlefield. Low Earth Orbit was unique in the war, for it suffered no loss of life. Instead, the war was fought by satellites and anti-satellite missiles. The Commonwealth deployed small boosters in orbit, that would attach themselves to British satellites and deorbit them. The British would fire missiles from aircraft in the stratosphere and completely obliterate Commonwealth spy satellites. The complete destruction of orbital devices was denounced by other spacefaring nations. When a satellite was reduced to hundreds of pieces of debris, each one of those pieces was a threat to other orbital installations. Large, rotating space stations (one operated by Sweden and another by the United States) were high enough above Earth to avoid the shooting gallery of micro-meteors, but other stations were not so safe. A German space station was abandoned when it became clear it would pass through a debris field, which punctured the station. The Germans safely deorbited their space station, which splashed down in the Indian Ocean.
Treaty of Leicester
During April of 2042, British and Commonwealth delegates met in Leicester to spell out the terms of Britain’s surrender. The Dutch were relatively lenient in terms, wanting little from the British. They did not demand reparations from the British, nor cession of land. The Commonwealth had only three demands from the British; 1) The United Provinces will receive exclusive rights to the resources of the North Sea; 2) The Royal Navy will be limited in size of to the Commonwealth’s 1st fleet by a ration of 3:2 in favor of the Dutch; 3) England itself would be occupied for a period of ten years. The Commonwealth would not send occupation forces to Scotland, Wales or even Cornwall.
The Treaty did not assign guilt for the war. Nor did the VOC have their own wish to bill London for damages to company property. The three terms were simple, and the Commonwealth made it clear that if the British did not sign, the war would continue and His Majesty would not be so generous with his next set of terms. Britain’s Parliament debated the issue for two weeks, before reluctantly agreeing to terms. The Commonwealth Assembly4 ratified the treaty after only an hour. On April 30, 2042, the Treaty of Leicester was signed, bringing the Third Anglo-Dutch War to an end. Occupation duty in England was light, and the British offered no resistance. Nor did they prove to be particularly helpful to the occupiers. Instead, they endured and patiently waited for the Dutch to return home.

The Kiat
April 13th, 2010, 07:31 PM
XVIII) End of an Era
(2043-2090)
International Breakdown
Following the Third Anglo-Dutch War, and the dividing up of the world’s resources between the major powers, international organizations such as the United Nations began to lose influence. Their ability to act as a mediator and the endless, unenforceable resolutions passed during the 2030s caused much dissolution with the organization. Attempts by representatives from Biafra, Grand Colombia and Mexico to introduce the Outer Space Treaty, one that would prohibit any nation from claiming a piece of extraterrestrial real estate as their own. The final session of the U.N. was held in 2039, coincidentally, one of the sponsors of the Outer Space Treaty was in a fight for its life against oil-hungry France.
An attempt to restore the United Nations in 2042 failed, when not a single World Power and most of the Middle Powers failed to show up in Geneva. This Second United Nations was short lived. Not a single attending state had the ability to make resolutions binding in the face of overwhelming opposition from the World Powers. The fact that France was engaged in West Africa made many of the lesser states fear that a new age of colonialism was upon them. The first age was driven by lusts for spices and gold; this new one was driven by an insatiable thirst for petroleum.
One of the last acts of the United Nations before its disbandment was to compile a world census for the middle of the 21st Century. Proposed by Ambassador Xavier Salvador of Grand Colombia, following the disastrous Siege of Bogota, its goal was to tally the world’s population, employment rate, literacy rate and other vital statistics. At the time of the proposal in 2043, the World Powers had already withdrawn from the United Nations. Despite this obstacle, the motion was passed and in the waning days of the U.N., the project went through. Due to lack of funding from the poor members of the U.N. the project took several years to complete, meeting the 2050 deadline by a mere seventeen days. What it discovered was that 6.3 billion humans were alive, a number lower than ten years ago. For the first time in centuries, the world’s population was declining. The cause was two fold; 1) In advance nations, lower birth rate and the death of the Baby Boom generation greatly reduced the populations, with the United States declining by 12% between 2000 and 2050. 2) In less advance nations, the cause was mostly famine, brought on by constant warfare and a shifting climate.
With the fall of the United Nations came an end to organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. For post-colonial states that owed great deals of capital to the World Bank, this was a mixed blessing. Though the U.N. was gone, the World Powers that helped bankroll it were looking to collect on their investment. When Egypt attempted to default on a lone that was partially funded by the Bank of Amsterdam, the Dutch Commonwealth seized control of the Suez Canal1. With the breakdown and collapse of international organizations, much of the world began to slide into violence that permeated the latter half of the Twenty-first Century.
Queen Katerina
Katerina, born Catharina Beatrix Carmen Victoria van Oranje on December 7, 2007, was the first of three daughters born to King William VIII. As with all of the Princes of Oranje, she attended the most illustrious university in the United Provinces, earning a degree in law. While at university, she met a student from Germany, one Viktor Manfred, who was neither royal or even the least bit noble born. Nonetheless, being a young woman, Catharina fell in love with Viktor and they intended to marry. However, the Staaten-General refused flat out to grant him any title should he marry the Princess, and further stated that should she marry a commoner that the Staaten-General would not allow her to sit upon the throne of the United Provinces. Along with the United Provinces, India, Abyssinia and Ceylon made similar statements. As is such with royalty, the decision was taken out of her hands. She and Viktor parted, though they kept in contact for the rest of their lives.
Instead, in 2033, Catharina married Leopold van Brabant, the thirty-two year old Duke of Brabant. This was a match that the Staaten-General approved of, though the Senaat had reservations about one of its own gaining to much influence on the throne. Catharina was crowned Queen Katerina on July 14, 2052, and inherited a world slowly decaying. Despite the centuries of wealth accumulated by the United Provinces, and the Commonwealth as a whole, the new queen had a challenge before her unlike any her predecessors have faced.
Economic hardships faced all the Dutch peoples as demand for oil continued to rise, yet its limited supply was on an ever downward spiral. Some members of the House of Electorates suggested opening up Antarctica to exploitation. The Queen dismissed this. Aside from having a major in law, she also held a minor in economics. When comparing the costs of drilling in Antarctica to the cost of simply phasing out oil, the latter won out by a wide enough margin. It was not just the monetary cost. Any activity in Antarctica ran the risk of breaking off a large chunk of the ice cap. With the glaciers in Greenland already retreating, the threat of flooding was severe. Add a melting South Pole to the equation, and the United Provinces may join the few sea floor cities beneath the waves.
The Queen organized and the Staaten-General funded a new generation of sea walls and ocean barriers to surround the United Provinces. The two most endangered Provinces were the Counties of Holland and Zeeland, with much of their land either below sea level or reclaimed from the North Sea. Some of her advisors suggesting relocating the Royal Court from Delft to a more secure location, far enough away that a single storm would not drown it. Katerina refused to leave the home of the House of Oranje for the past four centuries.
Through the first decade of her reign, environmental concerns were great. The first of a series of droughts began to impact the breadbasket of Africa, Abyssinia, and the melting of the Himalayan glaciers threatened India’s well being. The age old engines of industry, coal and oil, were slowly losing favor in the Dutch Commonwealth. New fusion reactors, still lacking in the efficiency output, were coming on line. When one of these reactors turned on, an old coal-fire plant was shut down and its load transferred over to the new reactor. Obtaining the fuels for fusion proved very problematic. Deuterium extraction on Earth would last for centuries, but with a growing demand for power, these resources would soon be fought over. Mining Helium-3 on Luna proved economically unfeasible, the cost of extracting and shipping the fuel back to Earth could not compete with cheaper and dirtier fuels sources.
One benefit of the warming was an increase in ocean activity. Normally, flooding of one’s homeland was a bad thing. In the case of the United Provinces it would be down right fatal. However, the currents pushing from the North Sea through the Strait of Dover increased in intensity. The Dutch tapped this energy potential by constructing tidal turbines along its cost, as well as in the estuaries of major rivers, such as the Rhein. Solar power was not particularly useful in the Provinces, but did come into favor in New Holland, Abyssinia, parts of India and the Boer Republics. The Boer Republics in particular benefitted. The Staaten-General of Transvaal passed its own law requiring all future houses and buildings to have roofs made from solar panels.
Treaty of Kyoto
The conference on climate change and pollution in Kyoto during the month of August in 2058, finally lead to a consensus on the state of the planet by the World Powers. One of the key points of the treaty called for the end of fossil fuel power plants worldwide by 2075. The biggest obstacle to this clause was, of course, China. Being the latest to industrialize, China spent the better part of the 21st Century developing its own industry, and the monestrous demand for electricity created by its more than one billion inhabitants. Aside from great engineering feats, such as the Three Gorges Dam, the Chinese government sanctioned the cheapest form of power generation; coal.
When China was pressured by the other worlds powers, who have slowly been switching over to orbital solar power and bulky fusion reactors, it resisted. Despite it industrial might, and as the largest single economy in the world, it still lacked the ability to build solar power satellites fast enough to keep up with demand. Despite the population peak in 2039, China still has a ravenous demand for power. During the conference, it was Queen Katerina who suggested that the Dutch Commonwealth could work with China to furnish its own fusion reactors. The negotiations were tenuous, but when Her Majesty made it clear that the only other option was for the Dutch Commonwealth to either blast China’s coal-fired plants off the map or face flooding of the United Provinces when the ice caps melted, or practically giving China the ability to create fusion reactors, China saw it had little option. Attacking China would result in retaliation from China. Such an exchange, even if it were but conventional, would be disastrous.
China would cease construction on coal or methane powered turbines and shift its resources into building fusion reactors. However, this would cause a quick rise in the prices of hydrogen and helium isotopes, and drive the prices of fusion power even higher. Even start-up ventures on the moon, to extract Helium-3 from the regolith, despite their lack of profit, would not be able to cover the demand. A second point addressed was removing the artificially produced carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Even if all greenhouse gas production were to stop, the planet would continue to heat, and the sea level was projected to rise at least three meters within a century. This would spell doom to coastal areas around the world. The city of New Orleans was already abandoned, and much of the budget for the Counties of Holland and Zeeland were poured into keeping back the North Sea.
Canada and the United States both agreed to start reforestation projects. As populations begin to shrink and agricultural production rises in efficiency, much of the old farmlands in the eastern United States were going feral. Federal programs for planting forests on farmlands no longer in use were started in 2060. Of the World Powers, only Sweden, with its vast tracks of untouched Siberian wilderness, still had large, unbroken forests. Despite being off-limits for exploitation, the Amazonian Royal Preserve began to suffer from climatic change as early as the 2050s, as savanna and open forest began to creep into the rain forest.
Even with the banning of fossil fuel powered power plants, oil and coal were still extracted for other industrial uses, such as plastics and production of fuel cells. Only the Dutch and British, both surrounded by water, used that same water to produce their own fuel cells and hydrogen. The Treaty of Kyoto was a plus for atmospheric health, but still did not address the issue of dwindling resources and inevitable conflict between World Powers as they compete for the remaining deposits. Nonetheless, the treaty was signed by all participants on September 1, and was returned to their respective governments were debates over ratification would continue for months.
First Earth Station
At the start of 2060, the Dutch Commonwealth entered into an agreement with the United States, German Empire and Japan, to cooperation on the construction of the first true space station. Unlike previous "space stations", made from modules shipped up from Earth, Earth Station would be a true engineering marvel. Though initial designs called for a wheel some twenty kilometers in diameter, the scaled back version of five kilometers was still quite impressive. It was sold as the way station to the planets. The station called for the importation of aluminum and titanium from the Lunar surface, to have it launched towards the First Lagrange point, between Earth and Luna.
Demands for cheap building material drives the economic development of Luna. Unlike the opening of new markets in the past, the flow of immigrants to the moon was very specialized. However, the amount of material required by Earth Station soon outstrips the occupancy capacity of Lunar settlements such as Fort Recife and Gatestown. The make-do extensions to the original research stations, by 2061, already housed some seven thousand people. The influx of workers, technicians and engineers in itself created an addition demand for labor to build the habitation units and dig the tunnels to house the Earth Station crews.
The first mass driver, an electromagnetic railgun capable of launching objects at high enough velocity to exceed escape velocity of Luna, was constructed forty-three kilometers south of Fort Recife. Construction of the mass driver and its continued maintenance brought in dozens of immigrants. Gatestown constructed its own mass driver, with its own influx of immigrants. The two German settlements, and even the small Japanese research outpost, had their own mass drivers built, and their own influx of immigration. The outposts on the moon began to realize that what they required was a true city, not improvised extensions to old modules. The sudden growth spurt in the 2060s made the Earthbound nations realize they need to apply more control to the private ventures on the moon.
Earth Station was originally intended to house some fifty thousand, but technical difficulties in the life-support systems, and the low yield of the small aeroponic farms reduced the supportable population of a self-subsisting space city to just under ten thousand. To the populations of the participant countries, Earth Station was sold as a waystation to the planets. Even with Heavy Lifters, half of the journey (in respect to fuel) was just getting off of Earth. When Earth Station was completed, and its first permanent residents moved in, in 2074, the first serious proposal for a nuclear-powered spacecraft capable of finally sending man to Mars appeared in Germany. Aside from a waystation, Earth Station proved an ideal place for companies to begin developing zero gravity manufacturing. Several companies invested in the station, carving out their own workspaces in the zero gravity hub of Earth Station.
The Moon Council
With the construction of Earth Station well underway, and an influx of highly skilled immigrants to the Moon, the spacefaring nations on Earth decided it was time to take control of the chaos. For the first half-century of human inhabitation on Luna, there was little to no government oversight to organize society. The handful of privately funded research outposts and small settlements were expanded as needed with little in the way of planning that did not involve staying alive. When new housing was required, the Lunars would simply bore out a new tunnel, insert inflatable habitat modules, and voila! Instant modules. With the influx of workers, Luna could not longer produce all the food, water and oxygen on their own. More over, with the demand for workers high, there was little choice but to bring them in, and import the lacking supplies at high price.
Some of the settlements turned back to Earth and ask for aid. The spacefaring nations knew that alone the taming of the Lunar Frontier would tax them to their limits. In order to better develop the moon and regional Earth space, the Dutch, Americans, Germans, Swedes, Chinese, French and Italians formed the Moon Council. The Council operated as the governing board, with three delegates from each member, over the moon as a whole. The Moon Council would regulate what little trade that existed between settlements, set import/export prices, set quotas for immigration and to fund the further exploration of the moon.
Of all the issues, the Lunars resisted attempts at immigration control. Without enough resources to support themselves self-sufficiently, they refused to allow anybody who was not useful to move into the old settlements. To defeat this, Gabriel Giopauli, proposed the construction of the first, true city on the moon. The formation of the Council also worked to standardize the moon and integrate the scattered settlements. Many of the spare parts were designed with their creator nation in mind. American parts could not be interchanged with Chinese and Dutch could not be with the Swedes. On Italy and France could interchange parts, and this was only due to the fact that the two countries were already cooperating. The Dutch people were not thrilled to know that the Commonwealth could not tackle the project on its own. With a history of self reliance, the idea of a project that not even the Dutch could afford came as a shock.
Queen Katerina fought against popular opinion to defend membership in the Moon Council. In 2062, when the Moon Council was formed, the first of many droughts struck at India. Though the monsoon was late in 2062, it did eventually arrive and save India from famine. For the previous sixty years, little of benefit to the Dutch people was derived from the Commonwealth’s activity in space, leaving many wondering just why such money was invested in the program. The Dutch people were use to investing, even long-term, but with nothing appreciable coming from this investment, the people wondered if it was time to cut and run. The VOC operated two new mining outposts on the moon, to extract metals and launch them into space. With the great potential for future technology and markets, the VOC invested in the Moon Council, and would even open a new office in the new city, Avalon.
Avalon
With an influx of workers to the already taxed and crowded towns that built up and under the original outposts, the Moon Council decided that it was high time for Luna to have its first, true city. Of several sites considered for the city, Shackleton Crater at Luna’s south pole, not that far from Braunstadt, was chosen for the site of Luna’s first city; Avalon. With the Peak of Eternal Light, which is always bathed in sunlight, nearby, Avalon would have a ready supply of solar power. Mirrors were constructed upon the peak to reflect sunlight during the crater’s night down upon greenhouses built on the surface. The city itself would be constructed beneath the surface. The greenhouses, covering a square kilometer of the surface, housed vastly improved aeroponic gardens. The greenhouse structure itself was covered with a recently developed invention, the plasma window. This primitive version of a force field uses charged particles to deflect particle radiation and incoming dust and micrometeors. The city would be carved from rock, with small living quarters and cramp workstation, but a central plaza the size of a grand railroad station of one of Earth’s major cities.
Since the city’s construction was a project of the Moon Council, tensions between the Earthbound bureaucracy and the Lunars quickly rose. The second- and third-generation Lunars wanted tight control on immigration, particularly having the tight control in their hands. They only wanted useful people to be allowed to move into Avalon, such as workers and technicians. Decades living in the spartan conditions of the first settlements with limited resources have given the Lunars a very dim view on freeloaders. So dim was it, that the original settlers, though some in their nineties, have not retired from their fields. The Moon Council, on the other hand, wished to open Avalon to any who could afford to move there, even if they were rich old persons who would do nothing but breath oxygen, drink water and take up space.
A second, more serious from the Moon Council’s view, controversy arose from the project. On Earth, with environmental catastrophe and poverty on the rise, many of the poorer nations asked how the rich could justify settling the moon when so many problems still existed on Earth. Clearly, it never occurred to them that said problems were the driving force behind migrations throughout human history. Of all the Moon Council members, the United States took the most flak from its own populace. Why are they so willing to pay for this Lunar city while Earth is falling apart? The Socialist Party was demanding that the resources invested in Avalon instead go to providing welfare for the impoverished. The United States, with climatic shifts and aging infrastructure, have already invested much into massive public works projects, that employs literally millions of Americans, and the Progressives and Libertarians question why the Socialists’ poor should simply be handed checks without doing any work. In a way, the infighting in the United States resembled the immigration argument between Earth and Luna. Queen Katerina also received much flak from Abyssinia, India and even the United Provinces, over perhaps better usage of resources. Despite opposition, construction of Avalon began in 2065.
Nanotech Revolution
As early as 2007, the ability to manipulate matter on the molecular scale existed. At the time, these were little more than laboratory experiments in making nanoscopic motors. By 2070, the field of nanotechnology had reached its holy grail; the nanite. In short, nanites are the first artificial lifeforms created by man. They are cell sized robots capable of doing what any bacterium can do, including replicate itself. Unlike cells, nanites use silicone as its largest component. The nanites, once released into a system, can take individual molecules and atoms and rearrange them into exact replicas. However, nanites were not developed with this purpose in mind.
Nanotechnology was slated to revolutionize manufacturing and solve some of Earth’s climatic problems. Just release the nanites into the air, and they can start sequestering, or even dismantling the excess carbon dioxide that threatened to melt the ice caps. It was this very proposal, along with proposals to clean up oil spills and other biological disasters that sparked a panic all over the world. If just one of the nanites malfunctioned, or "mutated" it might spawn a species of nanites that would dismantle all hydrocarbons across the planet, including biology. The idea of microscopic robots eating all living organism caused nanotechnology to be banned in several countries outright.
Other reasons, including those of religious revivals in some parts of the world in the wake of climatic changes, forced more enlightened countries to ban nanotechnology. In the southern United States, new fundamentalists declared these artificial lifeforms an affront to God, and enough of the United State Congress, fearful of losing elections, moved to outlaw the use of Nanites in American territory. Any nanotechnician operating within the United States after 2071, was subject to arrest, fine and even imprisonment.
Americans got off easier than many around the world. In some of the lesser nations, anybody practicing in nanotechnology was executed, or just simply lynched by the mob. A witch hunt against the technology, which was declared "evil" began in the Central African states, with some engineers even suffering from the savage method of execution, burning at the stake. Nanotechnicians had only two places to flee for their lives; a welcoming country or space. Despite the potential, no nation dared attempt to weaponize the nanites. Without complete control over the little creatures, there was no guarantee that the nano-plague would not turn on its creators when the wind blew it back towards the aggressor.
Accepting nations on Earth comprised of China, Japan and Sweden. The Swedes and Chinese used them in medicine, while the Japanese used them in manufacturing. With so much of its 20th Century population dead and long gone, Japan suffered for decades from a labor shortage. Nanites were seen as the ultimate labor-saving device. They also transformed raw materials into finished products at a fraction of the price; the largest expense in being programing the nanites. By 2080, Japanese goods were flooding the world market, causing China to switch over its nanotechnology program into its industrial base.
The largest benefactor of nanotechnology was Luna. For decades, the only way to expand living space was to blast out a new cavern. Not only could nanites eat out a new cavern, with every detail of construction programed into them, it could also produce next generation alloys capable of supporting large tent-like structures over the craters. Since the time humans first stayed on the moon, there was a dream in the futurist community that craters could be domed over, and the interiors turned into self-sufficient ecologies. It was terraforming on a small, and reasonable scale.
Nanotechnology on the moon, and around Earth Station, was used more for construction. New life-support systems were designed, using the nanites to break up waste waters into clean water and organic material for the farms, along with breaking up carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon. The carbon could be used in the farms or producing new composite alloys. The nanites were contained within the life-support systems, with a fail-safe. They would be fried by ultraviolet radiation. UV lights were built around the units to disable any nanites that escaped. This also prevented nanites from escaping the settlements and evolving out of control on the Lunar surface.
The Turbulent 80's
Earth reached a tipping point during the decade of the 2080s, both ecologically and politically speaking. It was by then that the sea level was already a meter higher than it had been in the previous century. Global warming caused much of the Greenland glacier to slowly melt away. This flooding of the North Atlantic by large amounts of freshwater caused a great fear that the Gulf Stream would break down. In the ultimate irony, global warming could potentially turn parts of Europe into extensions of Siberia.
The first disaster of the decade happen in 2081, when massive flooding hit the Bengal region of India. The flooding was caused by a combination of large glacial melt running off into the Ganges at the same time as the Monsoons hit the region. During the height of the flooding, more than 30% of Bengal was under water. Death toll from the flooding exceeded one million, and the destruction to the region’s infrastructure prevented relief aid from reaching the Bengalis before an addition million died due to poor conditions. Sadly, this was the last time the Monsoon was to hit India until 2084. For three years after the flooding, a severe drought hit India, causing famine conditions across Northern India. It was the first time in centuries that famine had hit an industrialized nation.
Along with India, Abyssinia was hit by successive waves of drought. The breadbasket of Africa quickly dried up, causing further near-famine conditions within the Kingdom of Abyssinia. Only a well organized emergency relief plan prevented mass starvation. However, many of Abyssinia’s neighbors were reliant upon her food their own importation of food stuffs. Famine hit eastern Africa, and with the shortages came internal strife. Civil wars further destroyed arable lands outside of Abyssinia, causing millions to die between 2081 and 2090. Drought also hit Brazil, but did little to affect its agricultural output. Instead, despite wide scale conservation for the past two centuries, the Amazon was drying up and starting to turn into open woodlands similar to the savanna of Kenya. Loss of glaciers in the Andes began to turn the Amazon into a more seasonal river, drying up to half its width at the height of the dry season.
Where droughts wracked some parts of the planet, others had the opposite problem; too much water. The sudden oncoming of storms in the North Sea during the 2080s hit the United Provinces severely. In 2082, the dikes failed in the County of Holland, flooding the relatively recently reclaimed lands, causing thousands of deaths. Though the dike was repaired and water pumped out, many Hollanders left the previous flooded land. Islands off the coast of Friesland simply vanished beneath the battering waves. In 2084, more dike failures caused the flooding of Middelburg. Again, after repairs, Zeelanders left the city in droves.
During the turbulent decades, more than half the population of the United Provinces left in a mass exodus. A majority of these climatic refugees resettled in Brazil or the Boer Republics. The loss of population, and the disproportionally high amount of old people remaining wrecked the economy of the United Provinces. Along with ecological disasters, the aging of the population caused a drop in productivity and caused the United Provinces’ Gross National Product to be reduced by 50% over the course of the decade. Queen Katerina was advised to relocate permanently to Recife. She refused, stating that she was not about to abandon the land her ancestors have held for centuries. This was a declaration Katerina made repeatedly over her reign.
Warming of the atmosphere and increase of water vapor caused more typhoons, more and of greater strength. Formosa, Hainan and Ceylon were hit by 1.5 times as many storms per year as they were during the previous century. In the Caribbean, Hurricane season grew a month in length, with Category Four hurricanes hitting the American Gulf Coast, destroying the ruins of an already abandoned New Orleans. The environmental disasters had the effect of causing the Fundamentalist movement in the southern American states to grow, with many believing that the End of the World is approaching.
With a general warming of the climate, tropical diseases began to spread across parts of the middle latitudes. Malaria and Dengue Fever began to spread through Mexico and into the United States. Obscure and lethal viruses from the Congo Basin spread southward into Angola and the Boer Republics. India began to experience the Bubonic Plague once again, only this time on epidemic scales. Hundreds of thousands died of the Plague in Bengal alone during the decade. India was hit again, when the Monsoon skipped 2087 and 2088. With glaciers in the Himalayas vanishing, the Ganges River actually ran dry in sections during the Summer of 2088.
Not only was the climate out of control, but the world’s resources were nearly depleted. The remaining oil supplies, mostly in Kamchatka and Swedish Siberia sparked a war between Sweden and China over sole access to the oil. Shale oil in the Canadian province of Alberta sparked off a Fourth Anglo-American war when the United State invaded Canada to seize control of the oil sands. France and Germany began to fight over the remaining iron deposits along their common border, threatening to drag the ruined United Provinces into their war. China eyeing both the industrial bases of Formosa and Hainan also threatened to drag the Dutch Commonwealth into war in the western Pacific.
Through the year of 2089, the wars continued to escalate, threatening the plunge the nations of Earth into yet another world war. By the autumn2 of the year, Sweden and China began to conduct strategic bombing raids on each others’ centers of population. Not all these attacks were aimed at destroying the industrial base. Several precision guided munitions were turned on the civilian population, destroying supermarkets and shopping malls, along with large apartment buildings used to house the workers of munition plants. In November, a fifty bomber raid out of Canada struck Chicago, not only destroying the railroad hub, but killing thousands of civilians. In retaliation, missiles launched from Lakoda razed portions of Winnipeg. By December, the wars were spiraling out of control. Chemical weapons were used for the first time since the Great War by France against a German thrust in Lorraine. Total war appeared only just over the horizon.
Doomsday
Nobody knows for certain who started, who was the first to press the button, but when the Swedish-Chinese war finally escalated into a nuclear exchange, the launched of ballistic missiles tripped the alarms in all the nuclear powers. When missiles were launched from China and Sweden, one of China’s missiles overshot its target and burst in Germany. This triggered a general attack by Germany against China, and France. Old hair trigger defenses caused the United States, France, Italy and the Dutch Commonwealth to release its own stockpile.
On February 6, 2090, over one thousand nuclear warheads detonated within Earth’s atmosphere. The electromagnetic pulse fried every piece of electronic equipment on the planet along with power transformers, breaking the global power network. Over a billion people died that day. The loss of so many people was almost as devastating to the human race as the lost of centuries of history in the great cities of Europe and Asia.
The United Provinces was virtually destroyed during the exchange. Two of the Provinces, the Counties of Holland and Zeeland were quite literally wiped off the map. Nuclear explosions flattened cities and broke flood walls. Dikes were vaporized and the rising North Sea came into to submerge the radioactive ruins of Dutch Civilization. Because of the high population density, the destruction of only a few cities would wipe out the population. Every major city in the United Provinces were destroyed, and most of its population was killed on Doomsday.
Across the world and through history, the End of Days was sought after for centuries. At first, Fundamentalist cults of Christianity and Islam were gleeful that Armageddon appeared to be just around the corner. When it came, they, or rather the survivors did not see a Second Coming, did not see the dawning of a Thousand Years of Paradise. Instead, they saw nothing but ruin and desolation. It would not be as predicted by religious figures over the years. The years following Doomsday would end with another billion dead of radiation poisoning and starvation. The worst effects were yet to come. As was covered, the Gulf Stream was breaking down in the 2080s leading to the fear of new glaciation. The nuclear exchange and the amount of fallout and ash in the atmosphere accelerated the cooling. Though Doomsday set the world aflame, its aftermath would lead to an Atomic Ice Age.

The Kiat
April 13th, 2010, 07:36 PM
XIX) The Long Winter
(2090-2227)
The Atomic Ice Age
Following the nuclear exchange during the year 2090, enough radioactive debris was thrown into the atmosphere to block out sunlight for years. In fact, the last decade of the 21st Century had only three summers; one in 2094, another in 2098 and the last in 2100. At the time of the disaster of 2090, much of Greenland’s ice cap had melted, reducing it in size by more than half. This amount of freshwater suddenly released into the North Atlantic was even before the nuclear exchange, starting to erode the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream broke down entirely during the following nuclear winter, and Europe was plunged into the freezer. Temperatures in Northern Europe soon dropped by several degrees, matching the same temperatures at the same latitudes in Canada.
At the start of the 22nd Century, Siberia began to slowly grow, creeping over the Ural Mountains and into Europe itself. The first decade of the new century was a hard time for Europeans. Many of those who had tamed the Russian Steppes during the 19th Century had their descendants fleeing the advancing tundra and taiga. The agricultural productivity of southern Sweden and Poland-Lithuania was all but destroyed at the dawn of the Atomic Ice Age. In North America, after three centuries of exploitation, the great aquifer that once supported the Midwest was nearing depletion. With shifting climatic patterns, the once Bread Basket of the World slowly reverted to frozen steppe. Much of the world’s food production was diminished by nuclear winter and radioactive fallout. During the last decade of the 21st Century and first of the 22nd, well over one billion humans died from starvation-related causes. With coldness wrapping itself around the Northern Hemisphere, old cities such as Novgorod, Moscow and the industrial cities of the Urals, turned into virtual ghost towns as the survivors are forced to migrate south, or towards the Baltic coast, where at least fish could still be had.
Of all the World Powers, Sweden was hit hardest by the Atomic Ice Age. By the second decade of the 22nd Century, the Baltic Sea was choked with ice for nine months out of the year. Only in the brief summer could shipping flow without risk of collision with icebergs. For the first time in three centuries, the worlds glaciers, those that remained, began to grow. As the glaciers, and the ice caps, grew, moisture was sapped from the atmosphere. Rain forests began to shrivel and die. By the 23rd Century, the once mighty Amazon Rain Forest was nothing but savanna and open woodlands, with almost all of its species extinct. That which did precipitate, did so as snow. Snow fall began to clog the mountain passes of the world, and with lower average temperatures, it never completely melted during the short summers. A total drop in the planetary average by ten degrees soon cause glaciers to crown the Rockies, Andes, Alps, Urals and every other major mountain range on Earth.
By the 25th Century, the population reached a stable point of approximately two billion. It proved impossible to expand the population, for all the arable land on Earth was now located in the tropics. With much effort, the Empire of Brazil turned the new Amazonian Plains into a breadbasket. Most of the population lived where the food was grown, but not all. The capitals of Europe were still alive, albeit frigid, with activity. Berlin, Rome, Constantinople, London and even Stockholm were rebuilt from the ashes. Due to the subarctic conditions these cities found themselves in, they would never again play a dominating role in world affairs. The United States still maintained its vast territory, including control over Canada. Since the Canadian lands were largely depopulated and uninhabited, controlling them was a moot issue.
By the end of the 25th Century, the ice caps and glaciers have grown enough to cause the sea level to drop three meters lower than it had been five hundred years earlier. Many ruined coastal cities, such as Amsterdam and New Orleans, along with the tops of some submarine cities, were exposed to the atmosphere for the first time in centuries. The ruins were curiosities to some archaeologists, mostly from the moon or stations in the Earth-Luna system, but only a few came from Earthbound locations. The nations of Earth were still rebuilding civilization, which even at this point in the Atomic Ice Age, teetered on the brink of oblivion.
Stability did not return to Earth’s climate until the 31st Century. The arctic was completely abandoned, and glaciers flowed down from the mountains. The sea level dropped to negative four meter during the 27th Century, but rose and stabilized at negative three meters in respect to a thousand years previously. Emigration from Earth to Luna, Mars, Mercury and various stations scattered around the Sol System caused the population of Earth in the Common Era year 3001, to drop below one billion for the first time in over a millennium. The planetary population stabilized at one billion during the 31st Century.
Final Fate of the United Provinces
Following the brief nuclear exchange in 2090, the United Provinces faced a proportionally higher destruction than most nations. The primary reason has to do with high population densities. The Provinces have never been geographically large, and only a few warheads could effectively destroy it. On that day, over twenty hit the United Provinces. Of the pre-exchange population, less than ten percent survived the attack. Of the total land area of the contiguous seventeen Provinces, half of the area was now underwater. Nuclear explosions vaporized both Netherlanders and centuries old dikes, which were already under pressure by rising sea levels. Destruction of the United Provinces was total.
Iceland and Norway escaped severe damage, but the destruction of global trade brought shortages to those Provinces, including famine. Legally, these two joined with Brazil. However, as the Atomic Ice Age took its course, freezing temperatures depopulated the area as Norwayers and Icelanders left their ancestral lands for the mild climate of Brazil itself. The surviving Netherlanders of the seventeen Provinces also made their way to safer lands, leaving the once mighty Kingdom of the United Provinces a broken and discarded husk. The Provinces that were not drowned, including Limbourg and Luxembourg were absorbed into and repopulated by the German Empire. Vestiges of the once might Dutch Empire, that ruled world trade and commerce for centuries, vanished from the face of the Earth.
Emperor Michael
Beyond the material damage resulting from the disaster that was 2090, a moral blow was dealt the Dutch People. During the brief but lethal nuclear exchange, the Queen, all her children and grandchildren, along with her brothers and sisters, were in the United Provinces at the time, and thus killed. For two years, while the world tried to right itself, it appeared as if the House of Oranje was extinct. In 2092, a royal cousin, some two generations removed, was located in Recife, Brazil. Michael Willem Oranje van Natal was born in the year 2063, from a mother who was the second daughter of King Willem VIII, and in the year 2090, happen to be the closest surviving relative to Queen Katerina.
Michael attended the Naval Academy in Recife, and served in the Commonwealth Navy from 2085 until 2092. He and his ship were in Recife during the exchange, a city that was spared destruction through anti-ballistic missiles. Even without the missile defense, being stationed on the submarine DCS Narwhal would have protected him from the blast. However, EMP from nearby atomic detonations destroyed much of the electronics in Recife, and while the Narwhal was not patrolling the coast, it was in port giving its shielded computing power over for civilian use. It was not until 2092, that Michael was located by surviving officials. Upon being informed that he was now heir to the thrones of the Dutch Commonwealth, he resigned from the Navy to take on his royal duty.
On June 4, 2092, the Brazilian Staaten-General elected him as Emperor Michael. The Emperor had the distinction of being the first Dutch monarch to not be King of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, as that state effectively ceased to exist when nuclear reactions met the rising North Sea. With global communication now a thing of the past, Emperor Michael had no means of contacting the other realms, short of sailing there. Instead, he focused his effort on organizing and overseeing reconstruction in the Brazilian Empire. It was only in 2098, a few years after lanes of communication were reestablished with southern Africa via new fiber optic cables, did Michael sail to Angola and Mozambique to be crowned King of both states by their respective Staaten-Generals. He continued around Cape Horn to Abyssinia, where the Abyssinian Staaten-General actually rejected him, instead electing an illegitimate royal cousin named Pieter.
For the next six years, reconstruction continued in Brazil. With cities leveled and tens of millions dead of the war and later of famine that raged across the world, there was little time to worry about establishing his claim to Dutch crowns. Angola and Mozambique were largely spared the terror of 2090, mainly due to their lack of strategically important targets. The Boer Republics were not so luck, with tens of million more dead there. Trade between southern Africa and Brazil did little to boost the economy as there was no longer any disposable income.
In 2104, Michael traveled to New Zeeland to claim its crown, increasing his crowns to four. New Zeeland was damaged during 2090, with its capital and largest port wiped off the map. However, with a low population to begin with, famine was not the same problem as it was across the rest of the planet. However, New Zeeland kept a very isolationist policy for those years after the exchange, going so far as to sink boats full of refugees rather than let them land on New Zeelander shores and take food from New Zeelander citizens. Contact was also reestablished with Ceylon, via radio waves bounced off the ionosphere. While Michael never ventured there in person, he was elected King of Ceylon and did appoint Governor-Generals via the radio waves.
The House of Oranje-Afar
The origins of the House of Oranje-Afar starts with a distant royal cousin, two generations removed from Queen Katerina, and his Abyssinian mistress, who hailed from the Afar region. This royal cousin lived in Afar, serving in his capacity as a Commonwealth bureaucrat. Between him and his mistress was born an illegitimate son named Peter. Upon the nuclear exchange of 2090, the bulk of the House of Oranje were killed. Only distant cousins remained scattered around the world. Though his father was killed when Addis Ababa was destroyed, Peter was alive and well in Afar. With no contact with the United Provinces (and no way of knowing it was destroyed) the Abyssinian Staaten-General had a succession crisis. Who would be king if the House of Oranje was extinct? It was not for several years did Emperor Michael of Brazil appear over the horizon.
Though Peter had no ambitions for the throne, his actions following 2090 made him a natural choice. With famine looming due to the devastation of Abyssinia’s infrastructure, it was Peter who organized relief missions with the surviving, functional vehicles. On one such mission, Peter was wounded while saving three relief workers during an ambush by highwaymen. Aside from relief work, Peter also organized construction of housing for the millions left homeless by the exchange. Unlike other managers, Peter took up a hammer and nails and worked along side his fellow Abyssinians. His royal lineage was not discovered until 2094, when members of the Staaten-General of Abyssinia approached him at his relief headquarters in Djibouti. They offered him the throne saying that the Kingdom must have a King. Peter refused at first, preferring to work. However, between 2094 and 2096 his pedigree (albeit illegitimate) became widely know among the people, and those workers he struggled along side.
Peter’s popularity among the survivors and their demand that he take the throne. Again he refused, not overly desiring the title of King. Some of the construction workers in the ruins of Addis Ababa went on strike when he arrived, protesting his refusal to take the crown. If Peter will not undertake his rightful task, then the workers would not undertake their own. malnourished and homeless survivors even took to the street, declaring that they would not accept any King but Peter. Abyssinia was in tatters and the people required hope, and a hero to look up to. At least that was the reasoning Peter gave himself when he finally relented to the demands of his people, though a minority were Republicans, arguing in favor of abolishing the monarchy.
He was to become a king popularly elected by the people, as well as the first black monarch of Abyssinia since the Ethiopian Empire. In a way, he is not unlike Maurice van Oranje, the first King of the United Provinces. He was the only choice that the Staaten-General would accept. He was crowned in 2098, only shortly before the arrival of Emperor Michael. Thus, with the crowning of King Peter I, the House of Oranje-Afar was officially born. Unlike the core royal house, this new branch was located in a precarious spot. To the north and northeast, lay an Arab World undergoing a wave of religious fundamentalism. The exchange brought out many rebirth movements in the world’s religions, most of them emphasizing God’s Final Judgement.
The Arabs banded together under the formerly repressed Wahabi sect of the Arabian Peninsula. A New Caliphate was born in the early 22nd Century swore to reunited the world of Islam under one banner, stretching from Spain to China. In the case of the Kingdom of Abyssinia, the Somali Coast was long ago colonized by Arabs, centuries before the Portugese moved in and the Dutch supplanted them. Since Abyssinia has always been one of the least industrialized of the Commonwealth states, it did not receive as much damage during the exchange. The dams on the Blue Nile still existed. King Peter made it clear to the Arab, that if any hostile move was made against his kingdom, he would divert the Blue Nile, causing the floods in Egypt to not happen, and destroy the Arab’s breadbasket.
Hainan and Formosa
The fate of Hainan and Formosa are drastically different from the other Commonwealth members, save the United Provinces themselves, which geographically ceased to exist. Even by 2090, Hainan had little industrialization and was largely spared from the exchange, though a naval air station was on the receiving end of a fifty kiloton explosion. Formosa was hit far worse, with New Antwerp and Taipei both being wiped off the map, and millions killed. Formosa was broken, with its government all but destroyed. The last Governor-General, Albert Dong Fou, survived the attack on Taipei, only to succumb to radiation poising in the following weeks. Across the sea, the People’s Republic of China bore the brunt of Sweden’s nuclear arsenal, yet was far from broken. All of its major cities had their cores burned out, but so much of China has sprawled out during the 21st Century, that it was still a functioning entity after the exchange.
The islands were taken from the Chinese centuries before, and a new generation of the People’s Dynasty was bent on reclaiming all of China’s lost lands. The first to fall was Hainan, rested from the Chinese by the VOC under less-than-favorable terms. The island put up minimal resistance. In fact, not organized resistance even existed. China’s plan to bring all the Han under one rule fell on deaf ears. The people of Hainan, whether descended from Dutch colonists or Chinese workers have long considered themselves Dutch, and citizens of the Commonwealth. The "ethnic" Chinese of Hainan spoke Dutch, ate Dutch food and loved the Dutch Dream: not to depose the capitalist, but to become one. The ideas of communism were even more alien than the traditional culture of the Mainland. The Hainaners met attempts to nationalize lands and business with protests. In turn, these protests were met with the machine gun fire of Marshall Law.
Formosa put up a more active resistance. When the Chinese crossed the straight in 2092, a few function ships of the Commonwealth Navy, and aircraft of its Air Force, met the Chinese invasion. Like Hainan, the crossing was done with barges, ferries and anything that can float. The defenders of Formosa ignored the Chinese warships and chew through the invasion flotilla. An estimated twenty thousand Chinese soldiers drowned during the invasion. However, the defending ships, including a battered Queen of Ceylon class cruiser, were destroyed, and the last fighters overwhelmed by the lower quality, but far more numerous People’s Air Force. The island was conquered after two months worth of fighting. Far harsher conditions were enforced on Formosa after the events on Hainan. Surviving members of the Kingdom’s government were hunted down by Chinese officials and summarily executed.
Conditions further deteriorated as Formosans took to the hills in a guerilla campaign against the invader. In decades past, this was to be the plan of the Army on Formosa until reinforcements could be summoned. However, with the world in ruins, none would ever come. The last heroic chapter of the Dutch Kingdom of Formosa came from the exploits of Alexander Buren, who waged a three year personal war against the Chinese. Between 2094 and 2097, he and his band of guerillas are said to be responsible for the deaths of over a thousand People’s Liberation Army personnel. His resistance took place along the eastern coast of Formosa, centered around the Xiguluan River. Roads that crossed the river were constantly mined, and the PLA was reluctant to approach the bridges.
In 2095, one such bridge was blown after half a Chinese company had crossed. Buren’s raiders massacred both halves of the unit. In response to this, the town of Fuyuan had its population deported to reconstruction camps on the mainland. It was not until 2097, when Buren’s reign of terror was brought to an end. While leading a patrol into the Central Range of Formosa, he and his thirty-two followers were ambushed by the Chinese. They were killed in cave-to-cave fighting when Buren took his unit into the cover of limestone caves. It is not known if he was killed by the collapsing caves or by the thermobaric weapons dropped on the cave entrances. The resistance continued for more than a decade on the island before the Chinese finally stamped it out. In retaliation for guerilla attacks, the Chinese instituted hostage taking and random executions in areas of active resistance. Accurate casualties during the decade of 2091-2100 for civilians is hard to come by, but it is estimated some half a million Formosans were killed during the invasion and following pacification.
India
Even before the exchange, India was hit with hard times. Between missed monsoons and vanished Himalayan glaciers, India was suffering both drought and famine which it had no experienced in more than two hundred years. Ironically, the exchange lessened the famine at first. With cities like Mumbai and Delhi wiped from the map and tens of millions killed, there were that many less mouths to feed. However, with the infrastructure devastated and radioactive fallout raining down upon India, a further one hundred million died from starvation, starvation-related disease and radiation poisoning in the decade to follow. During the starving times, many of the Princes of the Princely States found themselves deposed. Some were violently overthrown by the throngs of starving Indians demanding the Princes release the foodstuffs they had hoarded.
With the government gone and chaos reigning, India entered a period of Civil War. There were no clearly defined sides, but rather masses of people wanting the meager scraps their neighbors possessed. With the oncoming of the Atomic Ice Age, the situation in India actually began to improve. Dropping temperatures across the globe caused the first growth of glaciers in over a century, as well as the regular return of the monsoon. The first few floods was late spring thaws in the mountains were tainted with fallout. After these toxins were washed out to sea, the climate in India began to return to what it had been in the 19th Century. During the chaos, many of the great land owners were dead and their estates and farms divided up among the surviving Indians. Unlike most of the Commonwealth states, India has always been a reluctant and coerced member. Much of the resentment towards the Europeans surfaced during the Starving Times, and many were killed by the mobs.
Though there was hatred towards the Dutch, the Indians still spoke Dutch as a common language. The language was used in 2110, when Constantine Majaraha called a Constitutional Convention in a still ruined New Delhi. Many Indian elite and intellectuals, those who survived, called for a new constitution in order to tear up the hated constitution of 1910 that was written in the Hague and forced upon India. The new constitution declared India a republic, and abolished all hereditary titles. Delegate declared that the Dutch Commonwealth of Nations was dead and that it was time for India to return to its former place in the sun. India’s government would consist of a President and a Congress, both elected by popular vote. The franchise was granted to all Indians over the age of 18.
When contact was established once again with the Dutch Commonwealth, only the fact that neither side had much of a functioning military left prevented war from erupting. Upon hearing the news of a fully independent India, only 32% of the Indian officers in the surviving Commonwealth Armed Forces resigned and returned home. The rest stayed, and nearly half of those were in favor of overthrowing the new Indian Government, but again, the forces to pull of such a coup no longer existed. The Commonwealth had little choice but to abandon India and focus on rebuilding its shattered members.
Australia
The more distant parts of the Commonwealth weathered the Exchange differently. New Zeeland was largely left alone, except for the destruction of a naval base on the North Island. The same was true for New Holland. The Kingdom had little in the way of military targets, aside from outposts along the Australian border and the international airport at Perth. New Holland’s relatively low population also spared it the famine conditions of India and Abyssinia. The biggest blow to New Holland was the virtual destruction of trade following 2090. Imports dropped to nothing. Luxuries such as sugar and coffee were all but gone, as were the tropical fruits brought in from Java and Indonesia. New Holland’s economy also depended greatly on exporting raw materials and resources. With nobody to buy their ores, wool and Manufactured goods, the economy stagnated.
By 2100, the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 25%. Not as bad as most countries, but those countries were in ruins and had no economies left. Further problems occurred with China’s seizure of Hainan and Formosa. New Hollanders were a long ways away from the weakened, and divided Commonwealth. The Staaten-General in Perth could not decide upon accepting Michael or Peter as their King. The former was closer in blood to the previous queen, but the latter was closer in geographical terms. Neither were in any position to help New Holland. Furthermore, there were no royal cousins residing in New Holland. The Kingdom had always been an effective backwater of the Commonwealth.
New Holland did have one who could help them, one right next door. Australia, a member of Britain’s smaller Commonwealth of Nations, was in the same boat. They had no monarch and were cut-off from the rest of their personal union. Australia was much larger in territory and population, but like New Holland it was mostly ignored by the World Powers as they slugged it out with atomic weapons. By 2110, New Holland and Australia were exclusive trading partners. They had the resources to help rebuild the world, but lacked the ability to transport the goods. With world navies weakened and the populous in desperate straights, piracy grew exponentially since 2090. Even shipping to New Zeeland was hazardous, and to ship north through the Indonesian Archipelago was all but impossible. The only ships that dared those waters were the heavily armed freighters of the VOC, and the VOC charged exorbitant rates in order to fund its own rebuilding.
The isolation of the island-continent caused its two nations to grow closer, with trade barriers collapsing in 2118, and passports being abolished by 2124. A formal military alliance was signed between the two in 2125, violating Commonwealth law and charter, which calls that the Commonwealth have a single foreign policy. New Holland politicians, such as Gunther Dirk, declared that the Dutch Commonwealth of Nations was dead and New Holland would still have to do what was in its best interest. After decades, the throne of New Holland still remained empty, as was the throne of Australia. In 2128, talk of full unification of the continent began.
Delegates from both nations met in Melbourne on August 14, 2130, to negotiate unification. A Constitution was drafted that would have the new state take the name of Australia and that it would be a republic. Neither side could agree upon who could take the throne, thus it was abolished. The Constitution also called for a unicameral National Assembly, to have English and Dutch as the official languages and for a President to be elected by popular vote once every five years. The delegates returned to their respective countries where referendums were held. Australians passed the new Constitution by 84%. Three months later, New Hollanders passed it with only 61%. On January 14, 2131, the two states merged and the Republic of Australia was born.
Reconstruction
While the 21st Century is remembered for its monumental wars, the 22nd Century is best remembered by its monumental reconstruction. Hundreds of cities across the planet were left in ruins and the industrial capacity was virtually razed. The entire century was dedicated to regaining humanity’s former glory, and it fell short. Well over a century was required for humanity to rebuild what was destroyed in a single day back in 2090. Even at the dawn of the 23rd Century, the global standards of living were well down at the level of the year 1900. Electricity was sporadic in some parts, and in others so limited that it was used only for essential purposes. Electricity was not the only formerly common commodity rationed. Water was as well. Gone from the suburban sprawls were the once lush lawns. Water was to be used for drinking, sanitation and agriculture only. Much of the fresh water was slowly being gathered up into the growing mountain and polar glaciers.
A mass migration of the likes that had not been seen since the 19th Century hit Europe and Canada. Tens of millions of survivors fled southward, depopulating entire areas. The Canadian Arctic was all but abandoned, while the rest of the country was taken under the protection of a greatly weakened and divided United States. As stated before, both Iceland and Norway quickly became uninhabited tundra by 2150. The Swedes were forced to leave their ancestral Scandinavian lands, relocating their capital to Kiev. Once again, Kiev is under the control of the Rus. Kamchatka faced a mass die-off, and fell under the direct control of China, though it was lethally cold and the Chinese could do little with this land of ice.
Rebuilt industries by the middle of the century focused on the necessities of life and society. No longer are countless luxuries or recreationals were produced. In the 21st Century, the Dutch had access to televisions, telephones, computers, cars, and various other items that would have once been declared luxuries or novelties. No more. The exchange generated a massive storm of electromagnetic pulses that destroyed the planet’s electronics. Not only are these items not required for survival, in many cases it was no longer possible to build them. At least not on Earth. Several nations faced full command economies, while all face the loss of economic freedoms. Personal freedoms were restricted as martial law continued world-wide for the whole century.
With so much of Earth’s easily accessed resources depleted, new sources were sought higher up and further out. By 2150, most of the iron demand of Earth was satisfied by near-Earth asteroids. Hundreds of Heavy Lifters survived the exchange, while hundreds more were built in the nano-factories on the moon. The Lunar models were infinitely cheaper, with the bulk of development cost going into programming the nanites to build the first machine. Once perfected, the microscopic robots can build dozens of heavy lifters a week. The Earth-built models were chosen by the nations of Earth, not so much the innate fear of nanotechnology as it was for keeping humans on Earth employed and attempting to reboot the economy. By 2200, all of Earth’s metallic demands were met by mining asteroids with Earth’s vicinity.
In order to restore the economy of the Commonwealth, the Dutch were forced to purchase some Lunar products, namely electronics. Luna was untouched by the exchange and continued to grow and advance without interruption. Most Lunar products were not purchased, for they competed with Dutch companies and projects. However, electronics were in high demand. Lunar companies made fortunes off producing basic computers. The demand was so high that electronics accounted for 40% of the Lunar economy by the year 2200. The demand also generated another demand, this one on the moon. A demand for capable and skill workers. In spite of the devastation on Earth, a steady but select stream of immigrants were allowed into the Lunar nations, with the main requirements being that immigrants are skilled, healthy and young.
Andean War
Despite the amount of devastation left in the wake of the exchange, modern warfare still raged across the globe. The largest such conflict the fragmenting Dutch Commonwealth experienced is known as the Andean War, lasting between 2118 to 2121. The cause of the war dates back decades before the exchange, when both Peru and Bolivia had territorial claims in western Brazil. Seeing how the Commonwealth was a shadow of its former self, the two states formed an alliance with the expressed intent of conquering what remained of the Amazon Rain Forest. With a combination of global warming during the 21st Century and glaciation during the 22nd, the Amazon was fast drying into a large, tropical savanna. Most of the species were already extinct when the first Peruvian units came down from the mountains.
The invaders scored initial gains through 2119, as Recife attempted to learn just what was happening. The only working avenues into the Amazon post-exchange were that of the river itself. Patrol boats steamed up the river, only to be sunk by mines or a few function aircraft of the Peruvian Air Force. Without access to the satellite network surrounding the planet in geostationary orbit, communication was slow. Lower orbiting satellites had long since fallen from their position, and were of even less use. The standard means of relaying messages during the Andean War was the same as the Commonwealth had used in the year 1900; messengers. Runners would move from the front to the nearest land line, almost rendered as extinct as an Amazonian parrot because of the same wireless network that could no longer be accessed.
The Peruvian and Bolivian advances came to a halt once they entered into the jungle. The Commonwealth Army, under the command of one Colonel Maurice Willem van Oranje, Grand Prince of Norway and heir to the Brazilian throne, fought both invading armies to a standstill through attrition, and by 2120, all but destroyed the Peruvian Army. The Emperor decided that destroying their army was not enough. The mountains of Peru still had deposits of ores and other minerals required by the Commonwealth to rebuild. Thus the decision changed from simply expelling the Peruvians to conquering them. The invasion of Peru was slow and tedious, with both sides having to stop once winter hit the mountains. Treacherous passes and poor infrastructure made this an infantry war, with very few armored vehicles fighting in out in the Andes.
Bolivia sued for peace early on, abandoning their allies. For their quick cession of hostilities, Brazil only took the northern portions of the Bolivian Empire. Peru held out longer, Lima hoping for one great miracle to turn the tide of the war. The government had such control over the national media, that even as the Brazilian guns began to shell the northern and eastern suburbs of Lima, the government still insisted no Dutch soldiers had yet to set foot in their country. It was not until 2121, that the first Dutch soldiers, a contingent of New Zeelanders, advanced within view of the Pacific Ocean. When Peru surrendered, on November 3, 2121, they did not receive the same generous terms as had Bolivia. Peru would be annexed by the Brazilian Empire and its entire government, including cabinet and parliament, would be arrested and tried by Commonwealth Officials. The trials were not the fair ones the Dutch people had been known for, for so many years. Instead they were quick court marshals, ending with most of the senior Peruvian government being sentenced to death. Some Brazilian officers attempted to have the officials exiled, but the Emperor overruled. He reasoned that exiles could come back and cause trouble, while the dead could not. Thus, with the execution of the last Peruvian President, a half century of Martial Law began in Peru, as its provinces were gradually assimilated into Dutch society.
Anno Lunarium
In the year 2113, old reckoning by Lunar standards, the nations of Luna developed a new calender. Where as the previous one was in the year of the Christian Lord, the new calender would be in the year of the moon, the new center of civilization. With Earthbound civilization nearly obliterated in 2090, the creators of this new calender, lead by the Swede Anton Swenson from Lunapolis, was retroactively began in 2090. Thus the year of the exchange was now year 1 A.L. The development of this new system of time was an addition to the already mounting cultural independence of the Lunar nations of the Continental States, Nieu Prussia, Avalon, Lunapolis and Fort Recife, all greatly expanded since the Nanotechnology Revolution. It was also the year of de facto political and economic independence from Earth, as well as the year Luna became the new center of technological civilization. The new calender confounded the nations and companies of Earth that did business with Luna for years to come. The fact that the calender had no months and instead was divided into fifty-two weeks, each numbered, only add to the initial confusion.
South African Union
By the start of the 22nd Century, the Boer Republics, along with most of Africa south of the equator, was cut off from global trade. More precisely, global trade simply ceased to exist. Unlike many parts of the world, the Boer Republics were sel-sufficient in food and other essentials to life. Despite a population explosion during the middle decades of the 21st Century, there was still enough farmland to feed the populous. Not only enough, but land to spare for the wildlife. Collapse of governmental control did allow a new wave of poaching in Transvaal and Natal. For years, the Boer Republics were out of touch with the Commonwealth, and correctly surmised that the Hague was no longer there. The separation of the Boer Republics from the Dutch Commonwealth was not that traumatic of a process. The states of Kapenstaaten, Nieu Oranje, Transvaal, Natal, and Johannestaaten never had monarchs, and only held a common foreign policy with other Commonwealth Members.
In 2104, the Boer Republics moved to loosen border control between themselves. Though they were all Boers, they did not live in perfect harmony. For decades, the Boer Republics competed with each other in exports as fiercely as any non-related European state. In southern Africa, the Boer Republics lead the way in rebuilding. Only the major cities of the region were destroyed during the exchange, with much of its industrial output and infrastructure mostly left intact. The metals, particularly the gold reserves, helped fund a region-wide rebuilding effort, including the Kingdoms of Angola and Mozambique along with Namibia. The states began to pool their resources, and cooperating at levels that Boers seldom have. By 2140, clamoring for a full political union of the Boer Republics reached the forefront of the broadsheets.
The Treaty of Kimberley was signed on August 14, 2141, where the full union of the Boer Republics into a single southern African republic, dubbed the South African Union, was born. The Senaat would meet in Kimberley and a single President would preside over it and the government in general. In 2143, the German-speaking Namibia joined the federal republic. The union spread north as negotiations with Angola and Mozambique dragged on through the years. If not for the tyranny of Emperor Maurice IV, the two southern African kingdoms might not have joined. Instead, in 2146, referendums were held in both states on whether or not to abolish the monarchy and join the union. By 2147, both passed with 61% in Angola and 55% in Mozambique, and joined the South African Union. Though a single state for the decade, it was not until 2150 that a Constitutional Convention was called forth, making the union officially a Federal Republic, but with a much stronger central government than the Boers had ever dealt with in the past. Maarten van der Weld was elected in 2151 as the first President of the South African Union, and because the region rebuilt the fastest, and with its strategic location, South Africa became a center of the reestablished global trade for the last half of the 22nd Century.
Maurice IV
Unarguably the most despised of all Dutch Monarchs, Maurice IV was the first to be born in the post-exchange world, growing up never knowing the luxuries that existed before 2090. Being born in such a harder world is part of what made Maurice such a brutal king, earning him the title Maurice the Terrible by much of the Dutch population. His autocratic rule effected the Brazilians the most, with communications still slower than they had been when global communications were taken for granted. At best, messages would cross the world to the most distant of his dominions, New Zeeland, at the speed of light. Under normal circumstances, messengers were still in use when he was crowned in 2141.
Before taking the throne, Maurice IV was a Colonial in the Commonwealth Army, and was a minor hero before becoming Emperor during his actions in the Andean War. His regiment lead an in depth guerilla campaign in the drying Amazon against the Peruvians. Upon the death of his father, he was recalled from the front, which at the time was nearing the Pacific, to take on his hereditary responsibilities in Recife. His unilateral declaration of martial law and suspension of traditional Dutch rights across the Commonwealth forced Ceylon to defect to the House of Oranje-Afar. Two more of his Kingdoms in southern Africa rejected Maurice.
These rejections lead to a more autocratic rule, including the summer time dismissal of the Brazilian Staaten-General in 2148. He is known as the strongest of all Dutch Monarchs, taking his realms closer to absolutism than the Dutch people have been since before the Forty Years War. He ruled much by decree, ignoring what his own parliament told him. The Staaten-General was not totally enable during Maurice’s reign; they still controlled the purse strings of the Empire. Some of his decrees did finally force through projects, such as the construction of a maglev network across Brazil, that were stalling before debates in the Staaten-General. However, this was not enough to keep him on the throne. By 2150, a vast majority of the Brazilian people were dissatisfied with his rule. Furthermore, New Zeeland, the last of his overseas realms, was threatening to defect to Oranje-Afar.
Maurice’s reign ended in 2151, when a coup lead by his brother Willem Johannes van Recife, and backed by the Staaten-General forced him to abdicate. On September 4, 2151, Maurice relinquished his hold on the throne and entered exile in Cape Verde, while his brother was crowned William IX. William relaxed the existing marshal law, and restored some of the freedoms cherished by the Dutch people for centuries, though rationing would remain in effect for decades to come.
Little Amsterdam
One of the few centers of industry on Earth not effected by waves of electromagnetic pulse during the exchange was that of Klein Amsterdam. The most amazing thing of this small city is not that it was shielded, but why it was. Klein Amsterdam is one of the many submarine cities founded during the 21st Century. The city was founded by a man named Mannheim Vidt, a native of the original Amsterdam. The story goes that Vidt grew tired of the never-ending battle with the sea, and decided to embrace the waters instead of resist them. He, and a group of investors, set out to found their own underwater city. Klein Amsterdam was built off the southern coast of Ceylon on the ocean floor, situated atop of a vein of gold to make it start out as an economically viable project. At first, it was but a prospecting town of 3,000, founded in 2058. However, as hundreds of atomic explosions fried virtually all electronics in Earth’s atmosphere, those beneath the ocean were shielded by many meters worth of water. More than half the towns, all built into tunnels beneath the sea floor, where destroyed during the 2080s, as well as the chaotic final decade of the 21st Century.
Klein Amsterdam survived because of its small population and relatively strategic unimportance. However, as it became clear the amount of devastation humanity inflicted upon itself, and the destruction of centuries’ worth of industry, Klein Amsterdam was one of the shining pearls of hope scattered across Earth’s sea floor. Demand in electronics reached unheard of levels as the nations of Earth slowly began to rebuild themselves. Klein Amsterdam had fully functional machine shops and fabrication plants. Part of what the gold they mined was destined for was high quality electronics. It quickly became the primary electronic production center for the Kingdom of Ceylon. The newly "independent" India laid claim to the city, but made no overt attempts to wrest it from Ceylonese control.
The city is bound with exports, but its borders are sealed for most anything entering it. They accept foodstuffs, but turn away immigrants. Klein Amsterdam, unlike surface cities, had to also ration its air supply. Essential personnel only, and not a single of the hundreds of millions of refugees were allowed to enter. So strong was this close-border policy, that Klein Amsterdam went as far as destroying its only maglev that connected it with the island. All commerce must be shuttled to the surface world via submersible, which docks at air locks that are tightly guarded. The security system is so sophisticated, second only to what would be found on 22nd Century Luna, that not even a rodent could enter undetected.
Unified Earth Front
India, separated from the Commonwealth for decades by 2153, saw the birth of a new international political movement. Centered around the Indian Ocean for its first century of existence, the Unified Earth Front had but one simple goal in mind: full political unification of Earth. Branches of the Unification Party sprang up in India, Burma, Indonesia, Indochina, Australia and East Asia. The U.E.F. headquarters was located in the partially rebuilt New Delhi. The Unified Earth Front headquarters was a plain and unimpressive fifteen story office building constructed atop the rubble of Dutch Delhi. The party was not founded by an Indian, but rather an American named Eugene Smiley. He knew his plan would never sell at home; Americans have a long standing tradition of minding their own affairs, with the exception of interventions in Mexico, and have always focused clearly on solving their own problems and simply not caring about the rest of the world’s. Such isolationist attitudes run contrary to unification.
The Unification Party was not an instant success in any state but India. The Unification won its first majority in India in 2157. Ironically, the same country that broke away from the unity of the Commonwealth was now advocating full union of the entire world. The U.E.F. operated knowing full well that the exchange nearly destroyed human civilization. In order to prevent such a catastrophe from ever occurring again, Earth must be brought under a single government. For the last half of the 22nd Century, the battered World Powers ignored this upstart movement. By 2070, only the above mentioned regions had the Unification Party in power. In most cases, they were elected by a populous who was ready to leave the nation-state in the past, as the city-state was left behind millennia before. In the case of East Africa, a coup backed by other Unification states toppled the legitimate government.
Each branch of the Unification Party moved quickly to remove the barriers between their respective countries. In 2178, all trade barriers were lifted and all tariffs eliminated. This did cause a great deal of deficit in the governments who once were financed by said tariffs. The shortfall forced both a rise in taxes and the nationalization of profitable industries to fund the state. In 2190, passports between U.E.F. states became a thing of the past. In 2197, in order to emphasize the progress of humanity, the U.E.F. became the first Earth-based anything to adopt the Anno Lunarium calender as a common calender for Earth that completely disregarded religion. The decision was also symbolic in that the exchange, 1 A.L. was also seen as a turning point in history.
In 2204, the U.E.F. implemented a common currency, simply called the credit. Before the exchange, most hard currency was rendered obsolete. Afterwards, such capital did make a comeback out of necessity. The U.E.F. had every intention on returning to that level of technology that would render paper money obsolete. However, gold and other metals were still used as a reserve, an emergency back up. For half a century, credits were printed on paper note, until the communication network was restored to a level were instant transactions to any point on the map was again possible. The year 2209 saw the creation of the Earth Defense Force, a military integration of the U.E.F. states into a single force. During a meeting of high ranking Party officials in 2210 set the year 2227, 137 A.L. as the year when full political unification of the U.E.F. states would be scheduled.
Terran Confederation
For more than seventy years, the Unified Earth Front strove for the creation of a world-state. The goal was nearing completion when on January 4, 2227, delegates from all U.E.F. controlled states met in New Delhi. At this famous meeting, the Articles of Confederation for a world-state were drawn up. Heading the government would be a unicameral Senate, based much on that of the Staaten-General India had while it was an empire within the Commonwealth. Heading the government would be a council of ministers, with a First Minister as the head of the world-state. Elections would be held every five years for the senate, and upon their taking office following their elections, they would appoint ministers from their own ranks, and elect a First Minister to preside over it all. The elections of Senators would be universal suffrage, with the only requirements being that the voter is eighteen years of age and that he resides in the state in which he is voting.
For ten days the debates raged on about the new government. Some, such as Hans Veergan of Australia, wanted a strong federal government for Earth. Others, such as President Indira Medehaula of India, was suspicious of strong central governments. Even after a century, the Indians still remembered their own rule by the Dutch Commonwealth. As with the name of the new governing laws, the Indians and their confederated faction won out. The new state would be a loose confederation of states with common currencies, standards and military, along with open borders for both people and commerce to flow. Because of the states with current Unification Parties in control, the official languages of the world-state would be Dutch, English and French. Though the member states are all post colonial, and quite a few conquered by said nationalities, pragmatism won out. These three European languages would make communication far easier than dozens of regional tongues. That, coupled with the fact that both Dutch and English were international languages of trade, made them the two most logical choices.
After January 29, the draft of the Articles was returned to each of the member states, were referendums were scheduled to be held in the following February and March. By March 16, 2227, the final U.E.F. state, India itself, passed the Articles by 62%. Thus, the Terran Confederation was born. Elections to the Confederation Senate were held in May, and the first Confederation Congress began in Delhi in July. The Unified Earth Front long dreamed of Geneva as the capital of the world, but that old city of international negotiations was in the process of begin reclaimed by expanding Alpine glaciers. The first item on Confed’s agenda was to complete the unification of Earth. Reaction to the founding of the Terran Confederation among the World Powers ranged from concerned to indifferent. Americans were concerned for guarding their sovereignty, while a weakening People’s Dynasty in China simply did not care, provided the U.E.F. stayed out of China’s internal affairs. In the Commonwealth, both the House of Oranje and the House of Oranje-Afar saw this as the potential start of a newer, grander Commonwealth.

The Kiat
May 23rd, 2010, 07:27 PM
XX) Victory by Christmas
(1912-14)
The World in 1912
By 1912, all but two of the Great Powers have bound together in two large alliances, the Entente and the Central Powers. The Entente began its existence in 1890, when France and Sweden signed a defensive alliance agreeing to come to the other’s aid in event of war with the recently ascended German Empire. Sweden was in little danger from the Germans directly, but with a German (and an Imperial cousin) on the Polish-Lithuanian throne, there was concern that Poland-Lithuania might go to war with Sweden at German’s insistence. The Entente grew when the British signed on in 1898. The Confederate States were never an official signatory of the Entente, but were staunch allies of the British. If the United Kingdom went to war, the Confederates would follow. Britain had no provision guaranteeing they would enter into the war with France or Sweden if they went to war with Germany. However, should the Germans violate another country’s borders in said war, then the British would join the fight. Spain was the last to join the Entente; the Spanish Republic signing the alliance in 1907.
The Quadruple Alliance, called the Central Powers because its two chief members were surrounded by enemies, was formed in 1889 as the agreement of Two Emperors, between Germany and Austro-Hungary. The Italian Federation was also in alliance with Germany, though separate of this Two Emperors agreement. Should Austro-Hungary find itself in war with Sweden, or Germany in war with France, the other would stay out as long as the enemy’s ally would stay out. Since Sweden and France have pledged to aid each other, both of the German Emperors would soon be at war. Germany was at a disadvantage in that Austria was old and decrepit and the Italians were not viewed as wholly reliable. Germany needed an ally who could tip the balance against the British. They approached the United States, recently humiliated by the British and Confederates, in 1887 for an alliance. The Germans saw great potential in America, if only some Prussian Military Discipline could be bestowed upon them. The Americans did accept a defensive alliance in later 1887 against the British, but it was not until 1899, that the Quadruple Alliance was signed between the four World Powers.
Two neutral powers existed on the eve of the Great War. One was the Old Man of Europe, the Ottoman Empire. They continued to exist only at the sufferance of Austro-Hungary and Sweden. Especially Sweden. Should the Swedes ever take an active interest in the Balkans of Bosporus, it would spell doom for the Turks. The most powerful collection of nations on Earth, the Dutch Commonwealth, saw no profit in alliance, though the Germans sought one during the 1890s. The Dutch were interested in trading with all, not fighting them. As long as the United Provinces and Brazilian Empire’s commerce was not threatened, the Dutch were content to sit the war out and reap the benefits of neutrality.
The alliances covered both the political and military realm. The economy of the world was almost as tied together in 1912 as it would be in 2012. Large colonial empires of the centuries before were under mercantilism. By the twentieth century, free markets had replaced the medieval concepts of mercantilism, with commerce flowing across both sea and borders, albeit still faced with revenue-raising tariffs. At the time, the economies of the world were so interlinked, that some economists believed that not only was war between the Great Powers impossible, but obsolete.
Of all the Powers, it was the Dutch Commonwealth that controlled the largest share of world trade. The United Provinces were not the most productive of industrial states, but Brazil’s economy was nearly as large as the United States’. The Commonwealth also went as far as to build industries in its colonies where the resources are located. The British followed suit, as did the Germans. France, however, preferred to keep the bulk of its industry at home, and to harvest its colonial resources, ship them to France and process them. Afterwards, French companies would sell the products back to its colonies. France’s strategy hurt them somewhat. For example; Mexico, a French colony since the 1860s, could purchase some manufactured goods from the Confederate States, or even United States, for less than what the mother country was selling.
Not all trade was so benign. The Great Powers of Europe, save Sweden, exploited their colonies to fuel their own war industries. Iron, coal, oil and rubber were stockpiled by the European nations as an arm race rocked the first decade of the 20th Century. This arms race started when the Germans attempted to build a navy to combat the British. The Royal Navy, in turn, developed the doctrine that it should be large enough, and strong enough to take on enemies on both sides of the Atlantic, simultaneously. When both nations began to produce new ships, the United States felt it might be left behind, and began building up its own navy. Previous Anglo-American Wars have taught the Americans the threat posed by the Royal Navy.
When the Americans began to produce new battleships and cruisers, the Confederates attempted to keep pace. The C.S.A. was the least industrial developed of the Great Powers. Its land-owning aristocracy, trapped in a tradition a century out of date, perpetually controlled the central government, with the chief interest in maintaining their posting in life. As such, industry was stifled in the Confederacy, and they did not begin industrializing until after slavery faded, in the 1880s and 90s. Most of its industry was built by British capitalists, eager to exploit the mineral wealth of the Confederacy. As such, native investments did not start until after the economic slump following the death of King Cotton.
The Swedes had the largest challenge. After two centuries of integration, and the merging of Swedish and Russian cultures, the Swedish "Empire" was fully industrialized around the Baltic, in Sweden Proper, as well as Finland, Estonia and Latvia. Their biggest problem was getting raw materials to market. In 1903, a transcontinental railroad was finally completed, with the last Swedish stop at Lake Baikal (and the Pacific terminal within the crumbling Manchu, or Qing, Empire). This one line ran through the southern parts of Siberia, far from the iron, coal and oil deposits believed to be in the taiga and tundra. Much of the shipping east of the Urals was done on the rivers, and only when seasons permitted it.
Allied Strategies
At the start of the Great War, there were two Grand Strategies in place the moment war broke out. As with all plans, these did not survive contact with the enemy. Grand strategies were designed by both the Central Powers and Entente, in order to direct their armed forces to a common goal and victory. Both plans took a Europe-first approach.
For the Central Powers, the war would start out with Plan 6, the German invasion of France. The German General Staff projected three months to take Paris and force the French into a favorable cease fire. The reason for knocking France out first was two-fold; 1) They shared a land border with Germany and 2) the Germans believed them the easiest to defeat. After France sued for peace, the divisions in the west would be shifted to the east, to force the issue in Poland-Lithuania. Taking Stockholm was never seen as a viable plan, and the Germans aimed to force the Swedish king to concede the Polish-Lithuanian Throne to the German candidate. In the meantime, the Americans would put the bulk of their forces into defeating their southern neighbor. Both America and Germany agreed the Confederates would be easier to defeat than Britain, especially with British resources divided in several theaters. Since Canada was almost totally cut off from the Atlantic by a neutral Quebec, and completely so in the winter by the frozen Hudson Bay, they were viewed as a minimal threat. Rightfully so, as it was later discovered all Canadian war plans would be defensive and dependent upon reinforcements from the Empire. The British would be the last to fall, as the United States Navy and High Seas Fleet would strangle the island into submission.
The Entente also had their plans focusing on Europe. Their first goal would be to either knock out or prevent the Italians from entering the war. Italy had national interests on both sides of the alliance boundary, and it was believed they could be convinced to neutrality. Austro-Hungary was viewed as a rickety house that would be easy to topple. This did prove true, but it was done by internal reactions not the Entente. The British and Swedes believed these first two goals could be met within three months. After which, Germany would be squeezed from all sides, and Sweden, with their Polish and Lithuanian allies, would breakthrough to take Berlin. While the fight raged in Europe, the Confederates would trade land for time, slowly giving ground to the Americans. Once Germany was defeated, British and Swedish soldiers would flock to North America and turn the tide. The Confederates were not thrilled by this plan. Despite their staunch loyalty, the independent southern streak had to ask; "what if they don’t come?" That would leave the C.S.A. taking on an opponent with (not counting their black population, which the Confederates seldom did) more than three times their population.
Plan 6 is the sixth out of eight war plans the German General Staff designed in event of war with France. Each of the plans concerns certain scenarios, such as if the United Provinces side with Germany, France or remain neutral. Plan 6 involves a war with France, where both the United Provinces and Switzerland are neutral. In this plan, the bulk of the German Army in France, numbering over a million, will march westward across Alsace and Lorraine. Two smaller armies, of at least one hundred thousand each, will move in wide flanking maneuvers to the north and south of the so-called iron drapes. These smaller armies would flank the fortification line and attack it from the west, while the larger army would crash into it from the east. It was planned that this would open a wide enough breach in the fortifications to allow the German Army a mostly unopposed march towards Paris. It was planned that France could be knocked out of the war within two to three months, where afterwards the German Army could be moved East to deal with the war in Poland-Lithuania. As the General Staff would soon discover, no plan survives contact with the enemy, and the French were not about to play their anticipated role in Plan 6.
War Plan Red is one of the United States’ color coated war plans. This particular color was given to the British Empire. The bulk of any war against Britain would be fought in Canada, however the navy would have to contend with the Royal Navy. When these plans were drawn up in the 1890s, it was hoped that the German Empire would also declare war on Britain, dividing the Royal Navy. At no time were there any plans to invade the British Homeland. The plan did call for reconquest of western Washington, the Red River Valley and northern Maine.
Of the color coated war plans developed by the United States, gray was one of the more obvious colors. This was the plan developed to fight the enemy to the south, the Confederate States. The War Department believe a bulk of the fighting would be done east of the Mississippi. The region was divided into two fronts by the Appalachian Mountains; the Potomac Front and Ohio Front, named after rivers that served as natural barriers. The Potomac Front has the eventual goal of overrunning Virginia, forcing it back into the Union, and most importantly, capturing the Confederate Naval Base at Norfolk.
The Ohio Front would have to storm through both Kentucky and Tennessee. Taking the coal deposits in these regions would weaken Confederate industries, the smallest of the Entente. The ultimate goal of the Ohio Front was to take the Confederate Capital of Birmingham, in Alabama. West of the Mississippi, the region was divided into another two sectors; the Midwest and the Colorado Front.
The Colorado Front, named after the river that would see little combat, had the primary goal of closing the Pacific Ocean to the Confederacy in the capture of Port Sinoloa. Being so sparsely populated, Arizona Territory would never have the trenches and static warfare seen in the east. The Midwest Front’s goal was to take away Confederate oil in Oklahoma and northern Texas. This was believed to be the easiest goal since the Indians forced into Oklahoma might have sympathies more with the United States, whom left the Five Civilized Tribes alone before the Civil War.
Operation Python was one part of the overall War Plan Gray. It would prove a vital part of the war effort, in that the blockade of the Confederate States would strangulate their war effort. Python could not be moved forward until the Bahamas were under American control and the liberation of Cuba began. Python did not require the whole state of Cuba, but rather Guantanamo Bay as a base of operations. Python was divided into three sectors. The Atlantic Sector would stretch from Baltimore to Guantanamo. The Gulf of Texas Sector spanned from the Rio Grand to Guantanamo. In both of these sectors, the United States Navy was authorized to sink any ship attempting enter Confederate ports. Both sectors the USN declare unrestricted naval warfare, with more than half the shipping sunk by submarines. The Caribbean Sector was a little more complicated and took too much politics into account. The USN would patrol the Caribbean and seal of the Caribbean access to the Nicaragua Canal. Ships were cleared to sink Confederate, British or Spanish shipping heading to Mexico on sight. However, since France and the U.S. were co-belligerents and not officially at war with each other, ships flying the French flag could not be sunk on sight. Instead, the ships would be stopped and searched. Ships with arms on board would be escorted to port and have its arms removed. Those without weapons will be allowed to pass unmolested. However, if the ship is found to be flying false colors, such as a Confederate ship with a French flag, the ship will be seized and the crew treated as pirates.
Order of Battle, 1913
What follows is the manpower within the standing armies a month before the start of the Great War. It describes land forces, and excluded the World Powers’ navies.
Central Powers
Germany: 4 million
Astro-Hungary: 2.8 million
United States: 2.7 million (includes Standing Army and Guard)
Italian Federation: 2.2 million
Total: 11.7 million
Entente
Sweden: 6 million
France: 4 million
Britain: 1.3 million
Confederates: 1.8 million
Spain: 1.1 million
Total: 14.2 million
The cases of Sweden and Britain are misleading. In the case of the former, they had a long frontier with China, Japan, as well as Central Asia and Turkey to defend. Only half of their forces were readily available in 1913, with more pulled away as the war continued. In the latter case, Britain’s army was the army of its entire Empire and Commonwealth. 300,000 soldiers alone were Canadians and Empire soldiers stationed in Canada. The Home Army was not even a quarter of a million in 1913.
The American Army was the most unusual of the Great Powers. Before the start of the Great War, the United States had a standing army of 1.3 million. Since its founding, the United States Government and the American people have always been suspicious to standing armies. It was not until well after the Civil War, in fact not until the Third Anglo-American War, that the United States built up a permanent standing army. This decision was not a popular one, but a wise one; when it became surrounded by enemies, Americans took the pragmatic course and built it up its army. However, the regulars account for between 40% and 45% of the total army strength. The rest of the official army lay in the States’ militias, which were reorganized into the National Guard.
These more than 1.4 million citizen-soldiers serve for their states. The National Guard trains heavily in irregular warfare. Guerilla warfare by Americans is a tradition that dates back to the Revolution. How the National Guard units are organized is totally dependant upon the States involved. Some states, such as Maine, New Hampshire and Missouri, have their entire male populations eligible for the National Guard. Up to ten percent of these citizens are called up said states for terms of service of one year. Though conscription was law in the United States in 1913, it was relegated mostly to the National Guard units, with the Federal Draft able to call upon those Guard-trained soldiers and entire units. The National Guard can call up its soldiers on short notice. Unofficial citizen’s militia, called Minutemen, can call up faster. However, not being part of the legitimate army, these armed civilians are not protected under international law. Neither State or Federal Governments will call upon these private volunteers unless the area in question is invaded. Old State laws still require all men with arms to defend their homes in time of war.
The officer corp of the Standing Army is largely Fort Arnold trained and educated. With the National Guards, college graduates are automatically sent into Reserve Officer Training Corps. When soldiers in the standing army finally resign, they are immediately shifted into the National Guard of their home states. There, they will be liable to being called back to duty in time of war. The Federal Army has a more definite term of service, with enlistment periods of four or six year per term. The Federals are on duty year round, while the Guard stands down for most of year, minus training periods and times when the States decide to call them up.
Now what follows is the naval strength of the Powers.
Central Powers
Germany: BB- 22; BC-13; C-47
United States: BB-26; BC-7; C-38
Austro-Hungary: BB-12; BC-3; C-14
Italy: BB-19; BC-12; C-20
Entente
Sweden: BB-20; BC-10; C-31
France: BB-18; BC-5 C-39
Britain: BB-39; BC-22; C-58
Confederates: BB-13; BC-8; C-20
Spain: BB-5; BC-12; C-18
The numbers concerning the United States and Britain are a bit misleading, for both nations have to cover multiple oceans with their navies. The Royal Navy’s Home Fleet was actually smaller than the total shipping of the Kaiser’s High Seas Fleet. The Royal Navy’s intent on ship building was to be able to take on both their primary enemies on the high seas. Aside from protecting Britain from invasion, which was unlikely to be launched by either, they were also forced to keep open supply lines from their colonies; most important being the food from Patagonia, followed by industrial resources from Africa.
The United States was in a similar position as the British, that in fighting two enemies at once off their coasts. Of the two, the Confederate Navy was considered a joke by many in the Department of the Navy, but they would combine with Britain’s western Atlantic force and be under British command. Absent from above are the two neutral powers, the Turks and Dutch. Of these two, the Turks were a non-factor. The Dutch Commonwealth, however, had a fleet larger than even Britain’s. Their entry into any large-scale war would tip it in favor of whomever antagonized them.
Causes of the Great War
The initial spark of the Polish-Lithuanian succession crisis of 1913, was the start of the Great War, but the fuel was added to the fire long before this one spark set off the world. By the turn of the century, the United Kingdom and Germany found themselves in a dangerous arms race. Germany wanted a fleet powerful enough to protect its African colonies and to blockade Britain itself. The Royal Navy’s mandate was to be powerful enough to fight two wars at once; i.e. able to handle both the German Empire and the United States. The British Admiralty believed the Americans would take advantage of a war with Germany to exact its own revenge upon the former mother country.
The British and Germans were not the only ones to build up their fleets. When they started, the other World Powers took to building their own fleet. The Dutch Commonwealth was intent on maintaining its domination of world trade, and had the capital from the United Provinces and resources from the Empire of Brazil to keeps its navy ahead of the British. The French and Italians soon were locked in their own arms race, one that almost lead to war when Italy took Libya from the weakening Ottoman Empire. Since both were in opposing alliances, this could have lead to a general war.
The web off alliances between the Entente and Central Powers was also a leading factor to war. By 1910, Germany and the United Kingdom were viewed as leaders of their respective alliances, even though the British were not bound to aid the French or Swedes. Austro-Hungary and Italy would follow Germany, and both the Germans and Americans have pledged to aid each other if the other is attacked. As stated already, the Italian Federation’s expedition to Libya nearly sparked a war, but in 1903, a German cruiser squadron visited Morocco. According to the French, the Germans had intent on extending a protectorate over Morocco, which was nominally under Franco-Spanish (mostly Spanish) protection as of 1899. The fact that Spain did not sign on to the Entente until 1907, was the only reason war did not erupt in 1898, when Spain and the United States went to war.
In some cases, old fashion nationalism could have sparked off a war. If not for their alliance with Britain, the Confederacy would have come under the wrath of Americans who wanted to destroy them simply because twice in the previous century the southerners humiliated the United States. If not for protection, then the Confederates would have fallen under the sword of 7th Cavalry instead of non-compliant plains Indians. Some French had similar feelings towards Germany, wanting to avenge the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian war some decades before. Though France lost no land in that war, they lost much face.
One class that did not want war, despite revisionism of today, where the world’s industrialists. War would divide the world and cut off half their potential customers (though arms manufacturers would increase production). Though many American, British and German companies would follow their country, those who profited from it would prefer the open markets of peace. The VOC, company of the neutral Dutch, loathed a navy war for it would mean the construction of more warships, which carried little to no cargo, for defense of their own shipping. If they entered the war, then the VOC navy would be obliged to fight along side their own nationals. The Dutch governments stated before the war started that shipping flying the United Provinces, Brazilian or any other commonwealth flag would only be safe in Commonwealth territorial waters. International waters were to be entered at ones’ own risk.
Succession Crisis of 1913
The spark that ignited the world struck on February 11, 1913, when King Gunther II of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth died. As was the law of Poland-Lithuania for centuries, the parliament went about the process of electing a new king. Gunther II had requested that Frederick Georg Wilhelm, cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm II be named his successor. He was made a candidate, but the Poles and Lithuanians would decide for themselves who would sit upon their throne, which was far more constitutional than the one Germans were use to sitting upon. A second serious candidate, Erik Gustav, brother of the King of Sweden, was put forth to thwart German influence in the Commonwealth.
Through the month of March, Parliament held vote after vote, each time deadlocking between the two candidates. Attempts to break the deadlock by introducing a third candidate failed, as one strong enough could not be found. One attempt to put a Bourbon, living in Quebec, upon the throne was met with laughter from the pro-German bloc of parliament. It was met with a famous and sarcastic quote "why not nominate a Bonaparte while you’re at it?". However, outside force continued to pull at the blocs. Neither the Kaiser nor the King wished Poland-Lithuania to be pulled into the alliance of their rival.
To combat this, radicals in the Parliament move to have the Regal Election reformed to allow the people to decide who will be their king. The radicals could not gather strength for they were divided as well, with Socialists wanting to abolish the monarchy altogether. Further infighting brought parliamentary processes to a grinding halt. By the middle of May, the Kaiser had lost all patience. He decided that within a month, if the Polish-Lithuanian had not resolved the issue of the throne, then Germany would force the issue. On May 20, he ordered his General Staff to be ready for war against Sweden and France. Two days later, Charles Zimmerman sent a war warning telegram to the United States.
The Zimmerman Telegram
On May 22, 1913, a telegram arrived at the War Department in Philadelphia from the German Foreign Minister, Charles Zimmerman. The six page message stated that the German Empire was preparing to invaded the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to resolve the succession crisis. Poland-Lithuania was at the time an elective monarchy. The previous king, Gunther II died in April of that year, and the Polish-Lithuanian parliament proceeded through the process of electing a new king. Since Gunther II was a cousin to Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Germans believed the next king should also be a German. Their candidate was the brother of Wilhelm II, Heinrich. Some in Poland believed the Germans were getting too powerful and put forth a Swedish candidate, Erik Gustav, cousin to King Charles XVII.
Germany’s outlined their plan in the telegram stating they would invade Poland-Lithuania and instal Heinrich on the throne. This would obviously mean war with Sweden, which was part of the Entente. Since the United States was Germany’s strongest ally, the Kaiser decided to warn Roosevelt so that the United States could be prepared in case general world war broke out. Because of this telegram, the U.S. Army quietly mobilized during the month of June and began to move up units to the front. When the alliances were activated, and Congress declared war on June 25, the Americans were in a position to move against their enemies before the British in Canada and the Confederates were fully mobilized. This telegram is often credited for allowing the United States to be the closest thing to a victor in this otherwise status quo ante bellum war.
Invasion
On June 22, 300,000 German soldiers, divided into five corp, entered the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in force. For the first hour, they met no resistance, for the Poles had no idea they were being invaded. Only when reports of German regiments and divisions returned to central government, did the Poles and Lithuanians begin full scale mobilization. The Poland-Lithuanian National Assembly immediately convened and declared a state of emergency. At 14:04, the Swedish Assembly and King went one step further, and declared war upon Germany, which the Germans returned in kind.
Before the 23rd, France had declared war on Germany, Italy on France and Austro-Hungary on Sweden. Britain declared was, and the Confederates followed suit. As soon as this happened, the United States declared war on Britain, the Confederacy and Sweden, in that order. The three states returned the favor. Oddly enough, though on opposing sides, France and the United States did not declare war on each other. Given their long history together, both nations went out of the way to avoid fighting each other, with the United States not invading French Mexico, and France not attacking southern California, though both had the ability. Clashes on open seas between the two were inevitable, but aside from that, they remained co-belligerents and not official enemies.
On June 26th, the United States activated both of its war plans, invading the Confederacy and Canada. Armies crossed the Ohio (under the command of John Pershing), the Rappahanock (under the command of Clarence White Water) and the Columbia with initially minimal resistance. Alexandria, Virginia was entered and occupied before the day was out, as were key rail crossings of the Ohio River. With advance warning through Zimmerman, the Americans were already fully mobilized, while the Confederates were only partially so. Birmingham ordered an immediate call up of all of its soldiers.
France was in a similar state, as part of Alsace and Lorraine were conquered without a shot being fired. Several border fortresses were simply entered and taken by the Germans. Once the realization that a major war was on their hands, the French began to throw its forces into the gap between the United Provinces and Switzerland, trying to slow the German juggernaut. France would be on its own for three weeks, before the first regiments of what would be known as the British Expeditionary Force began to land in Calais. Spanish soldiers crossed the border to aid France in the Rivera against an Italian invasion. Spain was the last of the Entente to declare war, the republic taking a full week to deliberate and vote on a war that had little of their own national interest at stake.
Siege of Lodz
According to the initial planned invasion of Poland-Lithuania, the city of Lodz should have been overran within a week. This was not to be destined. Lodz and its defenders put up a stiff resistance, and continued to hold out as the front moved eastward. Lodz became an island in a rapidly advancing German tide during the summer of 1913. The fortresses surrounding the city held continued to repel German attacks, and some in the General Staff wanted to bypass the city and leave behind just enough soldiers to keep the defenders bottled up. The Kaiser would have none of it. He wanted no potential for attacks from the rear as the German Army slugged it out with Sweden over control of the Polish-Lithuanian throne. Even after Germany invaded Poland-Lithuania, the parliament remained undecided on whom should ascend the throne.
So instead of bypass the city, the Germans invested it. The eight month long siege of Lodz drew away critical resources from both fronts, East and West. The hundred thousand soldiers surrounding the city could have been used to complete Plan 6 or cut Poland-Lithuania off from the sea. The former would have gone a long ways to altering the outcome of the war, while the latter would do little. With Sweden as an ally, or at least claiming to protect the Commonwealth, the Poles had access to the sea via the vast Swedish Empire.
At the end of February of 1914, the city had already suffered millions of shells and tens of thousands of casualties. Tens of thousands more suffered through the siege as food supplies diminished. Dogs, cats, any birds and even the local zoo were slaughtered by the inhabitants who were desperate for food. The defenders of Lodz were lionized as heroes by the Entente, especially British, press. Attempts to aid the city were thwarted, and even the Red Cross was turned away by the German besiegers. Lodz would get relief after they capitulated. On February 27, able to suffer no longer, General Stefen Wolenski formerly surrendered the city. That should have been the end of the story.
The frustration of an eight month long siege, and the loss of a quick victory angered the German soldiery. What followed was not a civilized surrender, but rather a classical conquest. Discipline in the German Army broke down after the defenders laid down their arms, and the soldiery sacked the city. Officers struggled for four days to bring order to the mob. When order was restored, a portion of the city was burning and an estimated 22% of the surviving civilians were dead. In response to this atrocity, the German High Command executed over a thousand of its own soldiers, including the perceived ring leaders. Entente response was quick and to the point. The press declared this action the Lodz Massacre, and a prime example of how the barbarians were once again threatening civilization. The massacre even strained relations between Germany and the United States, its strongest ally. In response to the sacking of Lodz, the Polish-Lithuanian parliament broke its deadlock and unanimously elected the Swedish candidate, who was crowned Erik Gustav as King Christian I on April 29.
Opening Moves in the Pacific
The United States was at a disadvantage in the Pacific. The west coast was potentially cut off from the Pacific possessions of the Marianas and Wake by an Entente triangle of Seattle, Pearl Harbor, Port Sinoloa. In order to break this potential blockade of its western shores, the Navy Department moved forth its own part of War Plan Red; ejecting the British from the Hawaiian Kingdom. Hawaii entered the war on Britain’s side in July of 1913, using its small navy only in defense of its own shores and the British naval base on Oahu. The United States had no real interest in the rest of the Hawaiian Islands, and it was determined they would be ignored. However, the Pacific Fleet, as soon as supplied, set sail to eject the British from the strategic island of Oahu.
On August 3, 1913, the United States Pacific Fleet encountered a combined fleet of the Royal Navies of the United Kingdom and of Hawaii. Plans for the battle date back more than a decade. In the event of war, with the British to the north and west, and Confederates to the south, there was a good chance the United States could have its Pacific Coast blockaded. This would cut off America from its few colonies in the Pacific, but more importantly, to a large portion of its commerce. While offensives drive into Canada and the Confederacy, a third attack would head westward and drive the British off Oahu. With a base at Pearl Harbor, the British were in the perfect position to destroy American commerce.
At the command of the Pacific Fleet was forty year Naval veteran, Admiral Frederick Ruyter flying his flag from the USS California. Along with the California, seven more battleships; the Ohio, Iroquois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Maryland, Idaho, and Kansas along with twelve cruisers and twenty destroyers, along with ten thousand Marines. Facing him with eight battleships and four battlecruisers, along with ten cruisers, sixteen destroyers and five Hawaiian destroyers was Sir Edmund Ralley.
The two fleets made their first pass at each other at 1003, a little more than two kilometers off the coast of Maui, between that islands and Hawaii. Gunnery during the first pass was poor, with less than ten percent of the shells finding their targets. This was still enough to damage the HMS Revenge, and sink two British destroyers, one American destroyer, and the USS Portland. Each American and British battleship suffered near misses, with straddling shots causing buckling in the hull. After the first pass, both fleets attempted to outmaneuver the other, coming at another pass at 1036. The USS Ohio lost its number two turret during the exchange, and two more American cruisers were knocked out of the battle. Not sunk, but damaged enough they were forced to drop out of the fight. On the British side, the Lion was dead in the water and a cruiser listing severely. The cruiser capsized at 1044.
The third pass occurred at 1101, with more minor damage to big guns. Kansas was reduced to 2/3 speed as one of its boilers was flooded. The HMS Majesty lost power, and could no longer turn its turrets. The British battleship withdrew from the battle to rescue survivors from the first two passes. Even when ships were not giving broadsides, they were still exchanging fire. Before the fourth pass, the HMS Vendetta took four hits, one puncturing its forward hull and blowing off five meters of its bow.
The fourth pass, 1149 hours, was the climax of the battle, where Ruyter managed to "Cross the T". In the exchange, British guns could fire only a few rounds, two of which breached the Ohio’s hull. In the British lines, three battleships were further damaged, and the HMS Warspite simply exploded as a three hundred millimeter round penetrated its magazine. Wounded, Ralley ordered the British fleet, badly damaged, to retreat to Pearl Harbor. He had no intent of staying there, for it would be a bottleneck for his own fleet when the Americans arrived.
Instead, he would evacuate British nationals from the island and retreat to Manilla to repair the fleet. Before he could make good his escape, Ruyter ordered destroyers to close in and launch torpedoes on the dreadnaughts. A squadron of American destroyers closed in on the retreating ships and unleashed their payloads. Four destroyers were damaged, with one crippled, but in exchange, the Majesty broke in half, and a cruiser joined her.
To cover his retreat, Ralley ordered a torpedo run by his own destroyers. Three British destroyers were lost, but in exchange, the Maryland lost its forward turret, and the main British Fleet was able to successfully withdrawal to Pearl Harbor. Ralley is often criticized for giving up the battle, but had he pressed the attack, he could very well have lost the Royal Navy’s entire Pacific fleet. That fleet was required to defend the Philippines, Australia and Malaysia, and attack the Americans in the Marianas along with German Marshals and Kaiserwilhemland, and have sufficient forces to defend British holdings in the Pacific against possible Dutch attacks.
By August 5, the British evacuated their nationals from Oahu, leaving behind a rearguard force of Royal Marines and ships too damaged to survive the voyage across the ocean, to aid the Hawaiians. During the months of August and September, the Americans conquered Oahu, sending the Hawaiian royal family fleeing to the island of Hawaii.
Back in North America, a force of twenty thousand soldiers moved from southern California into the Confederate State of Durango, across the Gulf of California. Port Sinoloa was first attacked by a cruiser squadron out of San Diego, leading the Confederate Pacific Fleet on a chase. While they were pursing the ships, which were reinforced by some of the fleet from Hawaii in September, the first of America’s naval invasions of the war took place. Some ten kilometers south of Port Sinoloa, the fifty thousand Americans hit the desert beach with minimal resistance. Real resistance did not take place until August 30, when Confederate garrisons and American invaders clashed just outside the city. In the course of the next three weeks, the Americans moved northward, fighting block-by-block to seize the city. Finally, on October 8, the Confederate commander at Port Sinoloa surrendered. The city was not the Confederate’s only outlet to the Pacific, but with it in American hands, it was not the Confederates who were blockaded.
The Great Lakes Campaign
Along side the reconquest of the Red River Valley, in later 1913, early 1914, the United States Navy on the Great Lakes did much to secure America’s northern border. Control of the Lakes would insure supply lines for both the Red River Valley and the York Peninsula. The British knew this as well, and decided to make the first move at the Battle of Mackinac.
Also called the Battle of Mackinac Strait or Battle of Fort Mackinac, this battle was the first British-Canadian counter-offensive following the declaration of War. Part of Britain’s own war plan against America called for it to drive American Naval forces from the Great Lakes. This called for bottling up much of the American Great Lakes’ Fleet on Lake Michigan while the British took control of the other four lakes. Not only would this allow the British, and the Canadians, uninterrupted supply lines for armies operating on American soil (none at the time), but it would also force the Americans to withdraw from the York Peninsula and cut off their iron mining regions in the west from the steel mills in the east.
Under the command of Vice Admiral Walter Cowan, a British fleet of two battleships (on BB and one BC), three cruisers, nine destroyers and ten smaller vessels, sailed ahead of a marine flotilla destined to occupy Mackinac Island. The British plan called for surprise, which was shattered on June 30, 1913, when the submarine Swordfish, commanded by Commander Edward Fitzgerald, spotted the British fleet and moved in to attack. A torpedo managed to hit the battlecruiser Leopard, but caused only slight damage, a rupture in the midship that was easily patched. In return, British destroyers hunted down the primitive submarine and sank it. At the time, Cowan was not aware if U.S. subs were equipped with the newly invented wireless transmitters. Though primitive, they were capable of transmitting a morse code pulse to warn that the British were coming.
On July 2, the British fleet entered Mackinac Strait and began to bombard the fortress upon Mackinac Island at 1133. A century ago, a British fleet made the same move and forced the fort to surrender before taking control of Lake Michigan during the Second Anglo-American War. Fifty years later, during the Third Anglo-American War, the British again attacked the fort, but this time took it by assault. Cowan planned to be the third to take the island in just over a century. Unbeknown to the British, Fitzgerald did get a signal back to Chicago, and the American fleet stationed their sortied.
The United States Navy split its forces on Lake Michigan into two columns. The western column, commanded by Rear Admiral Charles Vreeland, consisted of two battleships, two cruisers, four destroyers, seven frigates and torpedo boats. The eastern column, commanded by Commodore Robert Doyle, consisted of a lone battlecruiser, another lone cruiser, three destroyers along with a dozen torpedo boats. When the two columns converged on Mackinac Island, midday on July 3, Vreeland took overall command for what would turn out to be a short battle.
Given British superiority in overall firepower, Vreeland played his own gambit. He would send ahead the torpedo boats and smaller craft to launch their torpedoes at the British. He expected to loose many of the boats, after all, Destroyers were designed to destroy torpedo boats. However, he had hoped to open a breach in the British formation to exploit. At a distance of ten kilometers, the British guns began to open up on the Americans. At that distance, their aim was poor, and only a handful of near misses gave the Americans cause for alarm. The U.S.S. Columbia, a battlecruiser, did have a shell land close enough to cause minor damage to its hull.
In design, the British and Canadian Great Lakes Battleships were fifteen percent larger than their American counterparts, and sported 300mm guns, as opposed to the 203 and 253 mm used by American Great Lakes Battleships and -cruisers. Their armor was thicker as well. British cruisers had close to the same advantage against their American counterparts. American warships were lighter armed and armored, but also traveled faster than their enemies. American gunnery tended to be better on the Great Lakes, as was shown when shells from the Oregon made contact with a British destroyed that strayed too close, and tore it to pieces.
Before the opposing capital ships could get into more effective range, Cowan had to run the gauntlet of small torpedo boats. As was typical of a Royal Navy man, Cowan looked upon these lightly armed, glorified fishing boats with disdain. The idea that a boat could damage, much less sink, a Royal Navy battleship struck the Admiralty as absurd. This did not, however, prevent the Canadians from building their own torpedo boats to ply the Great Lakes. Cowan’s pride was about to receive a deep bruise when the American boats entered firing range. As was doctrine, the larger ships ignored the boats while the destroyers dealt with them. Two torpedo boats were destroyed before they could launch their torpedoes, but an addition thirteen breached British lines and launch two torpedoes each before retreating. Of these, and addition three boats were destroyed.
Many of the torpedoes missed, either be dodged, or simply sailing beneath the enemy bows. However, the bulk of the torpedoes were aimed at the largest ships; battleship Port Royal, battlecruiser Leopard and a cruiser steaming close to them. Seven torpedoes did hit, including one that took out the Leopard’s rudder. Two more torpedoes ruptured the battleship’s hull, reducing its speed by half. The cruiser received such a lashing, that it began to list. Before the day was out, it would be abandoned and capsized. With one capital ship mortally wounded and the other crippled, Cowan now had to face the Americans at a disadvantage. No British admiral had ever retreated from battle against the Americans on the Great Lakes, and Cowan did not wish to be the first.
When the American battleship and battlecruiser came into range, they quickly changed his mind. Shells from the Oregon and Susquehanna destroyed three destroyers and broke an addition cruiser in half. British shells caused their own damage, sinking an American destroyer and crippling two more, along with a cruiser Columbia even received hits, knocking out one of its two turrets. It was the fact that the Royal Marine transports would be within range of American guns within a day that caused Cowan to retreat. The transports were lightly armed, fast destroyers that would have stood little chance against the Americans. He would not condemn so many marines to their death just to save his own pride. At 1605, Cowan gave the order to withdraw. Not retreat, but to withdraw. He had every intend on returning as soon as his ships were repaired, and reinforced by ships from Lake Superior and Huron.
The Americans would not give Cowan, or any British admiral, a second change to seal Lake Michigan. Within a week, addition torpedo boats have arrived on seen, and damage to most of the ships was repaired. The Columbia did have to return to Chicago for repairs, but it would be replaced by ships arriving at Mackinac from Lake Superior. Addition soldiers were rushed to reinforce Fort Mackinac, and a small airstrip was built on the island. It could not project power against the Royal Navy, but would serve to base scouts. Addition guns were placed on the island in the following month, as were fortifications on either side of Mackinac Strait. Admiral Vreeland would not give the British a second chance to take Mackinac. As soon as he was reinforced, he took the fight to the British on Lake Huron.
Following their victory at Mackinac, the America Great Lakes Navy took up pursuit of their British counterparts once Mackinac Island was reinforced. By September of 1913, Vreeland set his fleet out, reinforced by two cruisers and the battleship Minnesota, across Lake Huron to hunt down what was left of Cowan’s fleet. Seaplanes launched from the northern shores of Michigan scoured the lake for the British fleet for a week before the first signs were detected. On September 7, Cowan’s fleet was spotted nearing Georgian Bay. Cowan had hoped to shelter in Owin Sound and repair the damage his ships sustained. At this point in the war, scouting planes were, if armed at all, very lightly armed. Bombers did not come into serious play for a couple more years. Had the Americans had these bombers, they might very well have sunk the British fleet from the air.
Instead, Vreeland ordered his fleet to sail across Lake Huron towards Georgian Bay. Cowan’s own scouts learned of the American’s approach. A squadron of five torpedo boats made runs on the Americans, missing the battleships at the cost of three of their own. One ship was eventually abandoned, but the fifth returned to Owin Sound with word of an American fleet approaching. The term fleet is used very loosely on the Great Lakes, for what Vreeland commanded would have been a glorified squadron on the high seas. Cowan had little choice but to put his whole fleet to sail, including the damaged Leopard. The British Admiral had no reinforcements aside from a few gunboats that nominally defend the naval base at Owin Sound. These followed Cowan towards their destined fate.
On September 15, 1913, just a few days over a hundred years since the Battle of Lake Erie, the American and British Great Lake Navies clashed some twenty kilometers of the northwest tip of the Bruce Peninsula. The battle was joined at 1103, when the Port Royal fired the first shots of the battle. British torpedo boats charged the Americans under the cover of the big guns. The shells fell short and wide, hitting a destroyer, ironically named the USS Oliver Perry. The destroyer was knocked out of action by hits from the British battlecruiser’s functioning turret, and began to list at 1108. The torpedo boats finished off the Perry and hit three more destroyers. The destroyer screen was tight enough that British boats could not penetrate to threaten the two American battleships and two battlecruisers.
By 1145, the playing was over and both formations began battling each other at ranges less than two kilometers. A British and American destroyer destroyed each other at under 300 m distance. Just before midday, Vreeland passed between Bruce Peninsula and the British Fleet, crossing Cowan’s ‘T’. All heavy caliber guns fired upon the lead ship, the battleship Port Royal. Of the shots fired, seven hit the battleship, including one just below the bridge’s superstructure. Cowan and his command staff were killed in the explosion. More hits punctured the aft and destroyed the rudder. The Port Royal began to turn to the port, no longer under human control. Seeing this, the following ships changed course, not realizing just what happened.
Both fleets lined up broadsides against each other. Several of the British shots hit their mark, damaging the Minnesota and killing its own captain. Over a hundred were killed when a boiler exploded onboard the Susquehanna. The damage to the Americans was painful, but not life threatening. Three destroyers were gutted during the exchange, with the loss of several hundred more sailors. The British losses were far worse. The earlier wounds on the Leopard were opened again by a torpedo run by one of the American destroyers lost. Explosions below the water line broke the back of the battlecruiser, which snapped in half at 1205. Only a handful of survivors, and none of them officers, were plucked from the lake. The out-of-control Port Royal was hit five more times, with two shots ripping open spontoons and causing the ship to enter a dangerous twenty degree list to its port. At 1211, the battleship capsized and went down. An addition royal cruiser and four destroyers were lost in the fight. By 1300, the British fleet on Lake Huron was effectively annihilated, and the remaining wounded ships limped away from battle. Two destroyers steamed towards Detroit in hopes of breaking through to Lake Erie, but the remainder of the ships headed towards Owin Sound.
The two destroyers were sunk by shore batteries attempting to cross over to Lake Erie, and the remaining ships were bottled up in Owin Sound. Vreeland sailed his own fleet within range of the Sound and began bombarding the naval base. Little damage was caused to the base, and none of the warships suffered any more serious damage, though a light cruiser was hit and ended up beaching itself. Vreeland sailed back towards Lake Michigan, victorious in clearing Lake Huron of British forces. Several American submarines set up a blockade of Owin Sound, and supply ships used the Huron side of the York Peninsula to resupply American forces in Canada. The Great Lakes were cut in half, and British and Canadian naval forces on Lake Superior remained isolated. American warships sortied into Lake Superior and hunted down the British cruiser and destroyers stationed upon it by the middle of 1914. Taking control of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario would not be as easy.
War in the Atlantic
After winning control over Lake Huron, and securing the northern flank of the York Peninsula, the Navy and War Departments shifted their attention towards the Atlantic. A key part of War Plan Gray was to liberate Cuba and restore its rightful Union government. This was partially a political goal, of restoring a state, and partially a military goal, to use Havana as a naval base to succeed in blockading the Confederacy. The move against Cuba did not happen until the Great War was already several months old. On December 1, 1913, the United States Atlantic Fleet departed New Amsterdam in route to Cuba. The fleet was commanded by one Vice Admiral Hugo Osterhaus, veteran of the Spanish War, and now commander of six of the Atlantic Fleet’s ten battleships. Along with the Vermont, Nevada, New Amsterdam, Indiana, Nebraska and Wyoming sailed some eight additional cruisers and twelve destroyers. The fleet carrier with it some four thousand marines, not for retaking Cuba, but for clearing the Bahamas of British presence before the invasion force could leave port.
On December 7, the American fleet sailed into the islands from the northeast, attempting to lure the British and the Confederate fleets into decisive combat. The two Entente fleets combined outgunned the Americans, but Osterhaus was gambling on catching the Confederate fleet before the British were to link up with it. The Confederate Atlantic Fleet comprised of four battleships; South Carolina, Sonora, Mississippi, Congress, along with the battlecruiser Manassas, six cruisers and seven destroyers. Upon learning of the American departure from New Amsterdam, Confederate Rear Admiral Robert Lawrence Hunley Jr. Departed Augusta with the entire fleet. Messages have been sent to Kingstown in Jamaica to British Vice Admiral Doveton Sturdee, who immediately put to sea with his two battleships, three battlecruisers, ten cruiser and thirteen destroyers. If he could link up with his Confederate ally, then the American fleet would be easily repelled, if not destroyed.
American cruisers steaming ahead of the main fleet, bombarded a British outpost at Hopetown. Ten minutes of bombardment destroyed much of the small outpost, and let the British know the Americans were here. By setting up for battle this far north in the Bahamas, Osterhaus knew that the Confederates would be the first to respond. However, Hunley was no fool, and would wait off the Floridian coast until the British steamed within range. To find the American fleet and coordinate a two prong attack, Confederate sea planes took to the air. These slow aircraft, with minimal range, spotted the Atlantic Fleet at 931, steaming off the eastern coast of Grand Bahama.
It was here that the actual battle was decided. The seaplanes had primitive radio transmitters on board, and transmitted coordinates back using Morris Code. The information was passed on to both Confederate and British. Unfortunately, the pilot and lookout who spotted the Americans were recent volunteers, and transmitted the distance in statute miles instead of the nautical miles the British used, and marked the American’s course off by fifteen degrees. Upon relieving this intelligence, Sturdee ordered his own fleet on a course that would intercept this faulty data, and leave the British well away from the actual battle. The Confederates coming in from the northwest, however, found the Americans at 1305.
Osterhaus ordered his own fleet into action, taking his line of battleships along side the Confederate line. Hunley, who expected the British to show up from the south at any moment, obliged, and traded the first broadside at 1323. This first exchange resulted in many misses, despite hard gunnery training. Two battleships, the Nevada and the Congress received damage from the exchange, but not enough to knock either from battle. For the next two hours, both fleets maneuvered, attempting to cross each other’s "T", while exchanging pot shots at each other. A Confederate destroyer strayed too close to the American line of battle, and was reduced to a new corral reef in a matter of minutes.
At 1423, the fleets lined up and exchanged another broadside. The C.S.S. Sonora took severe damage, forcing it to fall back in the line. After more than an hour of combat, Hunley began to wonder if his allies had not abandoned him to a numerically superior American fleet. One-on-one, the Americans could carry the day against either the Confederate Atlantic Fleet or the British Carribean Squadrons. Combined, the Americans stood less-than-even odds. Hunley’s luck changed at 1440, when the Confederates managed to cross the "T" on the Americans, and bring their broadsides to bear on the American lead ship. The Nevada took fifteen hits from shells larger than 300 mm, and dozens of smaller hits. The American battleship was torn to pieces during the exchange, taking most of the Confederate’s broadside. At 1442, the captain of the Nevada, Charles O’Baley, ordered abandon ship. Three hundred sailors escaped the rapidly sinking Nevada, and the captain and command staff were not among them. The sinking of the battleship forced the Americans to break formation to avoid collision with either sinking ship or floundering crew.
After the humiliation of being crossed, Osterhaus made his own gambit, copying some of the moves that took place at Mackinac. He ordered eight of his ten remaining destroyers to make torpedo runs on the Confederate battleships. This was usually a job reserved for lighter torpedo boats, but the Americans lacked any that day. Instead, the destroyed dodged Confederate gun fire to close into range. The most celebrated destroyer of the day, the Tomahawk closed into firing range of the Confederate flagship, the South Carolina. At 1510, the Tomahawk released its torpedo salvo just as a 300mm shell slammed amidship, destroying the destroyer with all hands. Three of the torpedoes hit the South Carolina. One was a dud, but the other two hit amidship on the South Carolina, ripping into its hull and breaking its beam. The Confederate battleship was lifted clean of the water, the explosion breaking the ship in half. The aft half sunk in a matter of minutes, with the bow half remaining afloat long enough for fifteen sailors to escape. With its sacrifice, the Tomahawk decapitated the Confederate fleet, killing Hunley and all his staff. Two additional cruisers and the Manassas were damaged during the run, while the cruiser Atlanta was also sent to the bottom.
Now in chaos, the Confederates attempt to withdrawal and reform their lines. The Americans pressed on the attack, making another broadside exchange, causing addition damage to Confederate battleships, with the Sonora losing electrical power. One of the earlier damaged cruisers, the New Orleans capsizes due to damages. The Americans were not immune from damage, the USS Wyoming had its aft turrets knocked out and was reduced to half speed. At 1800, the Confederates began to retreat south, remaining ships rallying around the Mississippi, the least damaged battleships in their fleet. Osterhaus ordered a cruiser and two destroyers to remain behind to pick up survivors, from both sides, while the bulk of the Atlantic Fleet pursued the Confederates through the night.
The battle continued at 700 on the following day, when Osterhaus orders his fleet to split into two squadrons. The first squad will run up along side the Confederates, while the Vice Admiral will take his squad and cross the Confederate "T". At 716, Osterhaus trapped the Confederates in his box, unleashing maximum firepower. The Congress began to list at twenty degrees and the Manassas capsized. Sonora simply exploded when rounds pierced its magazine. The explosion was powerful enough to severely damage a Confederate destroyer steaming too close. At 843, with three Confederate battleships sunk, Sturdee finally found the battle. The British were outnumbered and outgunned, but caught one of the American squadrons away from its fellows. The British pass resulted in minimum damaged to the HMS Lionheart, and one American cruiser sunk.
As the battered Confederate remains joined the fresh British forces, the British Vice Admiral ran up colors calling for a truce. Sturdee wished to fish survivors from the water, now very bloody and infested with sharks. Osterhaus agreed to a four hour cease fire, after which, he would continue his attack on the Confederates and the British. During this break, the Americans managed to get what fires that burned under control, and repaired one of the Wyoming’s damaged turrets. Sturdee assessed the damage to the Confederates, and determined that he could not hold the Bahamas without the loss of most of his own forces. Under such circumstances, he had orders from the Admiralty to yield the islands for the time being, until a naval force could be assembled to retake the Bahamas. At 1030, the British and remaining Confederate ships limped back to Kingstown, leaving Osterhaus victorious.
The following day, Osterhaus began his own attack on Nassau. One of his own cruisers were sunk and the New Amsterdam damaged by Nassau’s coastal defenses, including torpedo boats. Three thousand marines made it ashore on the island and continued to battle the few British defenders in Nassau until December 11, when the British surrendered the city and island. With Nassau secure, Osterhaus has cleared a path to Cuba and secured a base to raid the Confederate coast and tighten the blockade.
The United States Navy continued its operations, landing twenty thousand soldiers in southern Cuba on January 9, 1914. Guantanamo Bay was heavily defended by Confederate soldiers, and the city was not taken as easily as Port Sinoloa. It would require a further two months of conflict until ‘Gitmo’, as the United States Marines and Soldiers dubbed it, surrendered. Only the fact that the United States Navy, and others, controlled the waters around Cuba did the city surrender. Without naval control, they might very well of held out for months. The role of the Navy is obvious, but the role for "others" on the side of America as well as other nations is a more privatized part of warfare.
Privateering, a practice that has largely died out during the latter half of the 19th Century made a sudden revival with the outbreak of the Great War. The United States Congress issued more than seven hundred letters of marque during 1913, mostly against Confederate commerce, but a few wealthier ship owners were issued letters against Spanish, Swedish and even British shipping. The U.S. Congress did not issue any against France, since it had not declared war on the French Republic. The French, likewise, returned the favor. For Americans, a bond of some $100,000 dollars must be posted for the "good behavior" of the privateers, and to keep them from exceeding the bounds of their letters of marque. In 1913, there were no specialized privateering vessels in existence, and most would-be privateers took to modifying their own fishing boats, cargo tramps and even a few yachts. These ships worked well against Confederate commerce along the coast, and even raiding Canadian ships off the coast of Newfoundland. However, against British merchants they quickly lost effectiveness with the rapid implement of the convoy system. Any privateers that steamed within range of the Royal Navy escorts were simply destroyed.
Against the British, by 1914, the United States Navy took to Commerce Raiding. The difference between privateering and raiding is that in the former case, the goal is to capture the ship, and in the latter it is to simply sink it. Some American battlecruisers, and even the battleship Montana sailed lone missions, set on destroying Britain’s vital link to the rest of the world, especially its beef producing empire in Patagonia. Cruiser divisions of two to four cruisers also hunted primarily British shipping in the North Atlantic, Pacific and Far East. American submarines squadrons played a lesser role, however they operated further away, using German ports in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean as bases of operation.
The Confederate Congress issued its own letters of marque, some three hundred in 1913 alone. Confederate privateers focused almost solely on American shipping, with German merchants simply being out of range. Confederates operated along the Atlantic Seaboard, using Bermuda as a base, as well as up and down the Pacific, operating out of French Mexico. Confederate privateers took some fifty American ships in the first year of the war, compared to the Americans’ two hundred and five ships, and tens of millions of dollars worth of trade goods. For the most part, neither side netted much currency or specie from the raids, instead the privateers profited by selling captured goods and ships. When a privateer took a ship they believed better than theirs, they would modify it into another privateering vessel. The largest take by an American privateer was the C.S.S. Huxley, a Confederate Frigate. The most powerful privateer of the war was Joseph Kennedy of Massachusetts; he used his family’s wealth and political clout to purchase an old destroyer recently decommissioned by the navy. The ship was obsolete in naval action, but served well for taking Confederate ships. The Luck of the Irish as the ship was called, even tangled with a Confederate light cruiser and destroyer, evading them through a series of maneuvers in the Florida Keys.
In Europe, privateering was banned by the 1856 Declaration of Paris because the difference between a pirate and a privateer was a little on the subtle side. Instead, the European participants took to simply destroying the other side’s commerce. The two biggest players in the game were Germany and Britain. The German High Seas Fleet did sent sorties of cruisers after commerce of Sweden and Britain in the North Sea and North Atlantic, with some using Boston as a base, but the biggest impact in commerce raiding was the U-Boat. These submarines operated either alone early in the war, but with the implementation of the convoy system, they began to sortie in squadron strength. The Royal Navy’s Home Fleet tended to interdict most commerce heading into Germany under belligerent flags, but this was not enough to blockade Germany. The Royal Navy also had to divide their forces to both sides of the Atlantic, and neutral powers still traded with Germany. Though Britain could stop many, it dared not provoke the VOC, which had its own convoy system. To combat U-Boats, the British introduced the Q-Ship. These were armed freighters that lay in wait, looking harmless, and waiting for U-boats to commence surface attacks before revealing the 200 mm guns hidden on the deck. The Germans countered this by attacking more and more beneath the waves.
The French raided and destroyed what they could, but they had too much of their resources devoted to the war on land. The Italian Federation dominated the Mediterranean, not only destroying Spanish, French, and latter Ottoman, shipping, but Italian Marines raided the Spanish coast. With its limited coast line, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had fewer opportunities to engage in economic warfare. The Austrian Antilles were lost to the British early in the war, taking away their base in the western Atlantic. Several private commerce raiders operated out of Austrian West Africa, and were little more than pirates plaguing all shipping in the Gulf of Guinea, including their allies. The Swedes had their own raiders, plaguing any German shipping in the Baltic Sea. Their raiders were far fewer, since the Swedish Navy devoted itself to battling the German Navy, and interrupting the resupply of German soldiers on the west coast of Sweden.
All powers in question took an active role in the so-called "Battle of the Atlantic". The over all naval strategy of the Central Powers was to cut-off Britain from its empire and to link up in the North Atlantic. Millions of tonnes of British shipping were lost in the battle, along with hundreds of thousands of German, American along with French and Confederate shipping. Tens of thousands of merchant men died in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. Only on occasion would commerce raiders be bothered to pluck crews from the water. Privateers generally took the crews captive, delivering them to authorities in their home ports. Though the German and British raiders were ruthless, American and Confederate commerce raiders did take great pains to rescue their victims, and returned them to internment camps back home. These internees were traded between the United States and the Confederacy, one for one. Upon returning home, they often enlisted right into their navies for payback, either as sailors or as decoys or North America’s own version of the Q-ships.
Air War
The Great War was the first major war to see the use of air power. In 1913, this was hardly powerful. The United States, Britain, Germany and Italy used heavier-than-air machines to survey and scout over the network of trenches that began to appear in the fall of 1913 along narrow fronts. The use of aircraft as weapons was not until later. During 1913, the most that was exchanged between enemy scouts was the shots from pistols and carbines at distances to great to matter.
Starting that same year, when the aeroplane took a greater and greater role in the skies during the Great War, a sort of war profiteering rose outside of the City of Luxembourgh. The airstrip was totally make-shift, and at first was nothing more than a straight stretch of flat grass well outside of the city. The only remarkable features was a roadside pub some three hundred meters from the field. On November 12, Flight Lieutenant Samuel Winston, his observation plane shot up, made an emergency landing in the neutral Grand Duchy. Once on the ground, Winston hiked to the pub, ordered a pint of bitter and asked about local mechanics. Two days later, with his aeroplane repaired, Winston returned to the British Aerodrome on the French side of the border, telling his story.
Despite the fact that the United Provinces were neutral at the time, both British and German aircraft overflew the Grand Duchy of Luxembourgh. The French veered well clear of antagonizing the Dutch, but the British reckoned that if Germany was allowed to fly over, then so would they. At the time, and for many years after, Dutch law had clear definition of territory when it came to the sky, so legally speaking, there was no conflict. Provided that the war stayed outside of his Province, the Grand Duke would look the other way as two rival powers fought each other. During the course of 1913 and 1914, more damaged planes made landings at the airstrip.
By 1914, several more pubs have risen to service the influx of Entente and Central Power pilots making stops at Luxembourgh. Often after patrols, both German and British pilots would land at the airport at Luxembourg in search of unauthorized rest and relaxation. Discipline was tight around the combatant’s own aerodromes, and lacked in the way of entertainment. Beer was plentiful, but tightly rationed do to the war effort. Dutch breweries had no such limitations. Before the year was out, dozens of pubs, bars, casinos and even the odd brothel materialized around the airstrip. Workshops began to appear as well, as mechanics rushed outside of the city to work on the aircraft from both sides of the war. Even aviation fuel was sold.
At first, the Luxembourger officials turned a blind eye to the occasional landings, but as word about Luxembourg spread, the locals soon faced the prospect of both Germans and British ending up at the same pub. When the stories were told and the songs sang, the pilots would bid farewell, wishing the other luck in a may-the-better-man-win spirit. A few pilots would even seek out worthy opponents to challenge in the skies over the trenches. The city police force was tripled around the airfields, but to little avail. While in neutral territory, the two opposing forces had little interest in fighting, and more so in fraternizing. They traded stories about combats, about home life, and even the odd bottle of booze from each respective nation. British scotch was highly prized by the Germans. There was plenty of card playing to be had, and again the officials made absolute certain no cheats were permitted access to casinos. With a de facto truce in effect, the last thing anyone wanted was for bad blood to be spilt. Since these detours were without authorization, technically the pilots were absent without leave. Should their commanding officers ever learn of their stop over, and their fraternizing with the enemy, severe punishments would be met out. Never had any of the pilots been executed after being caught, for skilled pilots were very rare in the early days of flight. Instead, they were often transferred to alternate theaters of the war, one lacking a neutral power to cater to them.
Gains and Losses at Year’s End
Though some predicted short wars, and a war that would end by the New Year, the Great War was far from over by late December. The Germans had ran smack into France’s Iron Drapes, coming to a halt and digging in as reinforcements were trained and rushed to the front. On the Eastern Front, Germans and Swedes were locked into more dynamic warfare as the more open spaces made trenches fewer and far between. Around key cities, such as Warsaw and Krakow, trenches were plentiful as both sides, with the Poles aiding the Swedes, fought ferociously for control.
Further south, the Swedes held the advantage over Austro-Hungary, in that this front was within Hungarian territory exclusively. Germany had to divert their own forces to prop up their southern ally. Italy also came to the aid of the Austrians, as well as held their own on the Western Front, though were still far from taking either Monaco or Nice. The Italian Navy did hold the advantage in the Mediterranean, but not to the point of keeping out the British. A naval battle between Italy and Spain resulted with a decisive Italian victory off the Catalonia Coast in November of 1913.
In North America, the Americans were totally on the offensive, with all their armies occupying enemy territory. The Red River Valley was in American hands, as was much of northern Maine and parts of the York Peninsula. Advances in the west have pushed further west and north from the Columbia River. In the south, American forces close in on the Rappahanock River as well as marched up the Tennessee River. The Confederates put all their resources into hold on, and the American blockade was just starting to take its toll when 1914 began.

The Kiat
May 30th, 2010, 07:54 PM
XXI) Over the Top
(1914-15)
Disposition of Forces in 1914
At the start of 1914, the Central Powers’ star was apparently on the rise. With the exception of the ineptitude within the decrepit Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Central Powers had the bulk of their armed forces on the soil of their enemies. In Europe, German forces in the west were camped upon French territory. Much of Alsace-Lorraine was already under their thumb. The French, with the aid of the British Expeditionary Force, managed to establish themselves along the Iron Drapes, dug in and not about to allow the Germans to breakthrough. The Italians were also on French soil, though the front only extended, at most, nine kilometers inside France’s border.
The Eastern Front saw the Entente’s sole victory streak. Swedish forces moved across Poland-Lithuania and occupied parts of Austrian Galicia. Poland-Lithuania itself it divided between Swedish and German forces. After electing a Swede to its throne, Poland-Lithuania was fully in the fold of the Entente. The Kaiser’s primary goal of the war, to put an imperial relative upon the throne, was now out of reach. In a way, Germany has already lost the war, for they could no longer force the Polish parliament to elect the Kaiser’s cousin. However, this did not mean the Kaiser could not depose Christian I and replace him with a German.
The British and Canadians were holding the line against American aggression. By early 1914, despite poor weather, the Red River Valley (taken by the British during the Second Anglo-American War) was now fully under American control, as was northern Maine. The Americans made little gains on the York Peninsula, American advances outside of Iroquois stopped at Stoney Creek. Advances on the other side of the country have pushed slowly west and north of the Columbia River.
Gains against the Confederacy have been costly east of the Mississippi. In the far western deserts, the Confederates have been forced back, with a good portion of the Confederate State of Arizona in American hands, as well as parts of Durango. Landings on Cuba have yet to secure Guantanamo Bay, but the blockade of the Confederacy was in place and slowly taking its impact. With the lowest industrial output of the Entente, the Confederate war effort was most susceptible to blockades. However, this does not equate success on the battlefield, since the Confederates have held against the American tide on both the Ohio and Potomac Fronts.
Life in the Trenches
The euphoria and optimism of 1913, has been washed away by the winter rain and snow. The Great War differed from other wars in that, for the first time, the very landscape has been altered for hundreds of kilometers in length. A thin network of trenches, separated by a devastated no-man’s lands, served as the frontier between warring powers. Not all of the fronts had trenches. Along the Colorado Front, and in Poland-Lithuania, large areas made static warfare impossible. Any dug-in location could be bypassed. However, on narrow fronts, such as the Western or Potomac Fronts, a few defenders well dug in could hold of a much larger aggressor.
War, what was seen as a grand adventure by those too young to remember the last big war. The generation of the Franco-Prussian War were old, and those still serving were now Generals and Marshals. The United States Army had many of its higher ranking officers serving in the Spanish War, some fifteen years previous. That was paled in comparison, as the Spanish were easily pushed aside. Though with Spain in the Entente, no doubt they had their eyes on regaining territory lost to the Americans, and not just the Marianas in 1898. For the rest of the nations’ youth, war was something desirable.
The enthusiasm quickly drowned in the morass of mud collecting at the bottom of two meter deep trenches. The reality of war was, when not terrifying, very, very boring. Siting in the trenches for days and weeks on end, with the only sunlight hitting them when the sun was more or less overhead. Life inside the trenches was dark, dank and lice-infested. The parasites, that many combatants from middle class upbringing have never seen, plagued the soldiers more than enemy artillery. Soldiers rotated off the lines would undergo delousing, only to have the pests crawling all over them the moment they went back to the front.
In some areas, the frontline remained stagnant long enough for some comforts of home to make their way in. Soldiers in the trenches had little to do, and a bored soldier did command no good. Many were put to work inside the trenches, digging out bombardment shelters and underground barracks. Along with the barracks came other aspects of a normal army base, including mess halls and even recreation halls. Cards were the most popular way to pass the time. Few sections of the trenches even had motion picture projectors, though electricity was spotty.
At first, the dreaded call for "over the top" was just that, dreaded. But after months of sitting idle in the shells, taking cover only when the other side decided to lob rounds their way, even the most timid soldier was eager to charge. Anything was better than the endless monotony. Death was preferable over stale air, muddy beds and another round of beans from the mess. Even if they were not killed or mangled in the mad dash across no-man’s land, an order over-the-top could lead to the sought after breakthrough, and bring the soldiers one step closer to returning home.
The Western Front
Germany’s Plan 6 was slowed to a crawl, but not defeated. The largest obstacle in the path of France’s Northern Wing, was that of Verdun. The fortress of Verdun served as the northern most flank in a formidable obstacle along Germany and France’s common border. Construction on Verdun dated back into the 19th Century, following the disastrous defeat during the Franco-Prussian War, which ultimately lead to the founding of the German Empire. In 1891, the French government allocated the funding and resource to build a wall of fortresses from Verdun to Besancon, to prevent the German from ever penetrating deep into French territories again. In future wars, the French Army developed the strategy of trading land for time in Alsace and Lorraine, while the so-called iron drapes were being lowered into place over that window of invasion.
The Germans knew the fortifications were not solid, and developed several of their own plans on how to deal with it. Plan 6 would have the Imperial Armies move to flank both the northern most and southern most of the Iron Drapes, and then proceed to attack the line from east and west. Their original plans called for several weeks of fighting before France’s defenses were pummeled into submission. This failed to come to fruition in 1913, when the French Armies were in place at both northern and southern most extremities. This move by the French insured that the Great War would last for years instead of months. Initial advances by the Germans devolved into trench warfare throughout 1913, and by the start of 1914, the Germans were looking to break the deadlock.
By May 1, over two hundred thousand German soldiers were massed to the southeast of Verdun. German strategies have changed from pounding the line to conquering it one fortress at a time. An hour before sunrise on the 1st, tens of thousands of pieces of artillery on a stretch of the front more than twenty kilometers long, opened up on Verdun and the surrounding fortifications. Over the next seventy-two hours, more than a hundred thousand shells fell on the French lines. Some German officers were confident that nothing could survive. They were sadly disappointed when, on May 4, the German front along that same length of the trench swarmed out of safety and across no-man’s land. At 06:15, the French proved themselves very much alive and able to fight.
The initial swarm was turned back, and with the Germans on the run, the French went over the top in an attempt to overtake the Germans before they reached their own trenches. This back-and-forth charging, so common in the Great War, lasted for the better part of the day. By sunset, the Germans were firmly in the forward most trenches of the French, with twelve thousand of their own and eleven thousand French dead between the lines. The commander of the German Forces at Verdun, Crown Prince William, was quite pleased by the day’s actions. Following the actions of the 4th, and the disappointing survival of the French, a further two days of bombardment were ordered before the German continued the attack. These two days did little to damage the French positions and gave them more than enough time to bring up reinforcements.
The delay was so disastrous, that a further hundred thousand soldiers from both sides lay either dead or wounded between May 7 and May 13. Of his initial 200,000 soldiers, William had only 130,000 able to fight by the 14th. The French losses were even greater, with General Philippe Petain having only 103,000 soldiers able to fight. Of those, tens of thousands suffered from fatigue and shell-shock. Moral on the French side was eroding faster than the German’s. On the 14th, further shelling was launched at Verdun and surrounding French batteries. William made use of aircraft to drop bombs on French guns, and upon Verdun. On May 15, the Germans made their breakthrough.
At dawn, yet another offensive swarmed over the Trenches, much closer to the city than when they started. Several of the forts ringing Verdun were in ruins, one of which, Fort Douaumont, had its entire eastern face destroyed. German soldiers easily breached the fallen wall and captured the fort. Fort Vaux was taken by a similar storming, though at a much higher cost. Fort Souville fell the following day. Petain and his staff were in the process of planning counter-attacks when an aerial bomb found his headquarters. Petain was severely wounded and several key members of his staff were killed. This lone bomber did more to win Verdun than did all the German dead laying on the wounded lands east of the Maas.
Fort Belleville was stormed on May 16, thus breaching the final ring around Verdun. The French government, after hearing news of Petain’s wounding, ordered that the French Army move west of the Maas, else risk being cut off from retreat by the Germans advancing on Verdun from the northeast. William did hope to take the city and encircle the tens of thousands of French soldiers and either force a surrender or annihilate them. Many French soldiers were reluctant to retreat, but hearing news that the British Expeditionary Force was moving from the central sectors of the Western Front, mainly from further south along the Maas, and between it and the Moselle River. The movement of British forces from here weakened the line, but was deemed an acceptable risk considering the amount of reserves the Germans depleted in taking Verdun.
The first German units marched into Verdun, only an hour behind the retreating French, on May 17. To rob the Germans of any possibility of following up their victorious advance, the French destroyed the bridges linking Verdun to the lands west of the Maas. The Crown Prince ordered boats to be captured or brought up to the Maas, and planned to attempt the crossing on the 19th. However, orders from Berlin delayed this advance until May 20, then May 25, then the first week of June, and finally indefinitely. The German High Command sited the lack of reserves on the Western Front, as well as need for them in Poland-Lithuania as reasons for stopping the advance at Verdun. Though the advance came to a halt on May 17, the actual battle continued until the start of August, as French, British and even Spanish units attempted their own crossing of the Maas, with disastrous results. Upon taken their new forward positions, the German guns had the Maas targeted for such an eventuality. All large scale attempts to cross ended in blood baths, but smaller raids were successful
On June 16, the British attempted a crossing of the Maas thirty kilometers to the south. After establishing a beachhead, the Crown Prince moved his own forces into position against the beachhead. The battle for control of the Maas continued until June 29, when the British finally withdrew across the river. The Fall of Verdun did not end the war in favor of the Germans, but it did force the iron drapes a little more open, as well as force Entente forces on the east bank of the Maas, south of Verdun, to withdrawal to the south and east, further adding to German advances, to thirty-seven kilometers on some portions of the central sector. After a little more than three months of fighting, more than a hundred thousand lay dead and three hundred thousand more wounded. It was one of the most costly defeats for the French, and costly victories for the Germans.
Poland-Lithuania
The Eastern Front had far more open spaces, and allowed for cavalry to be put in use. In the Trenches of France, Kentucky and Virginia, Cavalry did not even exist. Those horse soldiers in these fronts fought dismounted, and in the trenches. More commonly, in the North American Theater, cavalry fought out west. France did make use of Cavalry in North Africa, in their failed invasion of Libya.
German and Swedish cavalry units fought in small unit skirmishes. Any attempt to bring cavalry to bear in force on the enemy only resulted in thousands of horses and men being chopped up by entrenched machine guns. Between the cities of Warsaw and Lodz, cavalry ranged far and wide. In an attempt to make better use of cavalry, the German army armored several automobiles, mounted them with machine guns, and used them as a vanguard. This prospect failed, as cars tended to bog down in the snow of the Polish winter and mud of the Polish spring.
In April of 1914, the German Empire began its disastrous attempt to invade Sweden Proper. Controlling the waters around Germany’s Danish states, the Imperial Army massed hundreds of thousands of soldiers around Kopenhagen. On April 13, an armada of transports crossed the straits, landing near Landskrona. On a seven kilometer long beach front, a hundred thousand German soldiers attempted to break out and capture the port of Helsingborg to the north, and race across southern Sweden towards the south.
The Swedish campaign was intended to knock Sweden out of the war. With most of their army in the lands that were once Russia, the German High Command believed that if they could get a hold on the northern shores of the Baltic Sea, they could race to Stockholm and force the Swedes out. As we all know, this was a spectacular failure. Sweden did not leave its coast undefended, especially on their side of the ‘Oresund’ (the Sound). German forces did not simply wade ashore in the cold water. Instead, they were greeted by only a few thousand, well dug in defenders and their machine guns.
The Swedish Campaign lasted for three months, with Germans unable to extend their front lines much further than day one. Additional Swedish forces moved into to bolster defenses. The German High Seas Fleet was of little use, for only a week after the landings occurred, their guns were soon turned back to sea. Even shelling fortifications with three hundred millimeter guns failed to destroy the Swedish defenders. Answering Sweden’s call for aid, the Royal Navy’s Home Fleet set out in the North Sea to engage the High Seas Fleet.
The two main bodies did not engage each other in 1914. Instead, a series of squadron-sized battles took place: Dogger Bank on April 29, and Dover Straight on May 17. The former was a German victories, with three British cruisers sunk, while the latter was a decisive British Victory, where the Home Fleet annihilated a German cruiser squadron. Both navies attempted to gain the advantage on the North Sea and force the other side to fight on their own terms. Arguably, the Home Fleet could have won, and won decisively if not for the fact that the Royal Navy had a fleet half the size of the Home Fleet guarding the Western Atlantic. The German-American alliance successfully divided the attentions of Britain’s admiralty. Attempts to recall ships from Canada would only endanger their main base at Halifax.
On July 17, the German Army began to evacuate its Landskrona pocket, conceding victory in the North to Sweden. The Swedes never made any attempt to invade northern Germany, mostly due to their lack of a large, blue water fleet. Sweden had a sizabl