Keep going - its interesting how Ronin develop in Alyskan.

Well, if they are in service of local tribes, they are ronin no longer :)
The Age of Ronin

It is not known when the first Ronin arrived in Alyska, however in the 1360s the numbers of these disgraced former Samurai who made their way to Alyska began to grow rapidly. Alyska was a place where these men could start new lives, free of the shame of whatever had caused them to leave the service of their noble masters back on the Japanese mainland.

Initially Ronin were mainly interested in starting over, but it did not take long at all for some to realize that the small cities, coastal fishing villages, and native settlements lacked any central leadership. Or even an ability to defend themselves.

Starting in the 70s many settlements, both Japanese and native, would fall under the control of several Ronin. Who then began to transform the settlements under their control into in effect their own petty kingdoms. Attracting followers from back in Japan to grow their ranks soon some cities had their own small armed bands, and had begun to raid neighboring settlements. Charging taxes on anyone who traveled through the areas they commanded and demanding a part of the profits from the fishing fleet in exchange for protection from “pirates” who would otherwise attack their vessels.

By the year 1376 Ronin had taken over much of the Japanese settlements in Alyska and solidified their power in the region. Split into roughly sixty small fiefdoms spread up and down the coast no individual warlord held major power, or controlled significant resources. However taken together these new rulers held the region in an iron grip. Fighting amongst these micro-states was common, and soon the region was covered in a lattice work of alliances, power blocs, neutral powers, and hapless citizens.

Back in Japan the goings on in Alyska went largely unnoticed. With much of the nobility considering it a good thing that most Ronin had left for Alyska rather than remain and potentially cause trouble in Japan. With Ashikaga Shogun Yoshimitsu (1358-1408) going so far as to laugh at a delegation from Alyska which requested that he do something about the Ronin in 1394.

It was not until the Ronin warlord Aguro Mitsunoru of Nanko burned most of the fishing fleet in 1413, causing fish prices back in Japan to rise and many merchants to loose huge sums of money, that anyone in Japan took notice. And it was not until he did the same thing in 1420 that anyone decided to do anything about it.

Aguro had been motivated in his actions out of a desire to hurt the town of Umiyoshima (formerly Korimizu) a key rival of his. The city, already a regional economic center, relied on the large fishing fleet based in the region for much of its relative wealth. Not considering the possible repercussions for his actions beyond its effect in his war with Uniyoshima Aguro achieved his short term goals and forced Umiyoshima to cede substantial amounts of farmland to his city of Nanko in 1417, and felt that he could achieve similar results in 1420.

What Aguro did not know was that following his burning of the fleet in 1420 Umiyoshima sent a delegation to meet with the Ashikaga shogun Yoshimochi where they accused Aguro, and other former Ronin, as pirates and criminals. They requested that he send a force to Alyska to defeat him and return their lost territory to them.

Yoshimochi was not initially interested in doing any such thing. Like his predecessor he viewed Alyska as unimportant and was more concerned with relieving the great famine which was plaguing the country at the time. He considered a few thousand fishermen and merchants living in a far off corner of the world and their petty disputes to be of no concern of his.

It was only after Yoshimochi learned that Alyska possessed good farm land, and only a small population that he reconsidered his position regarding the Umiyoshima delegation. In August of 1420 he met for the second time with the delegation, saying he had come to a decision about what he was going to do about the situation in Alyska.
The end

Details regarding the first invasion from Japan are hazy, with our only sources being heavily biased and written in Alyska only in the seventeenth century to bring legitimacy to the Ori shogunate in its war against the Tokugawa.

What is known for certain is that Yoshimochi met with a delegation from Alyska which asked him to intervene and defeat the Ronin warlords which they claimed were plaguing the area. Initially the shogun dismissed them out of hand, but later became dedicated to launching an invasion of Alysla, raising an army and arriving in Alyska in 1422 sometime in the summer.

His reasons for suddenly changing his mind remain totally unknown, with some records suggesting that he wished to send many of the displaced peasants in Japan to Alyska to ease overpopulation, but even these sources admit that they do not just know for certain. But its causes are far from disputable.

The shoguns forces took little immediate action in 1422, instead wintering in one of the southern settlements and sending out messengers to nearby settlements demanding they swear loyalty to the emperor and the shogun, marking any who refused to do so for attacks in the spring of 1423.

When the winter ended the invasion force made rapid progress, and stormed through the region with relative ease. The records that we do have show that by the winter the entire country had yielded to the Japanese forces, with all the Ronin defeated, killed, and driven off. The region was then divided by the lords controlling the invasion and new rulers installed.

Obviously this series of events is highly unlikely, and a more likely theory explaining what truly happened will follow, though this is a highly conjectural theory only.
Reasons for the Invasion
While it can never be known for certain many historians, both in Alyska and in Japan, argue that the Shogun chose to invade Alyska as a means of distracting from major issues in Japanese society at the time, as well as a way of pausing the nobilities inner rivalries with the promise of new lands. Similarly it could be that the shogun saw Alyska as a location where elements of society unwanted by the majority of people. Such as criminals, illegitimate children of the nobility, and political enemies of the shogun.

Size of the army
Although the only records we have of the invasion claim the size of the army which invaded the province stood at over fifty thousand this figure is likely massively overinflated by the writers to make the opposition of the warlords seem even more futile than it was in reality.

It seems far more likely that the force assembled by the shogun was far less than twenty thousand troops, mostly conscripts who were to be given land in the conquered territories once resistance had been crushed. Few Samurai took part in the fighting it seems likely, and even the records largely seem to agree, listing only three hundred Samurai by name and giving no indication that many others took part in the invasion. A tentative figure agreed by many modern historians places the size of the invasion force as fifteen thousand. Including many supporting men not counted among the troops.

Likely events of the invasion
Leaving in early summer the invasion fleet arrived in the south of the major settlements in the vicinity of the Neiw Freisland and wintered there in a hastily constructed camp. The army sent out numerous messengers to the towns and villages around the army’s winter base. Demanding that they submit to the shogun or face the consequences.

Faced with overwhelming numbers and a brutal fate if they refused to acknowledge the power of the shogun many of the surrounding settlements swore fealty to the shogun. Who’s representative allowed the local rulers to largely remain in power provided they provided the army with scouts and food.

By the spring of 1423 the army was assembled and began marching northwards, continuing its winter policy of sending messengers ahead of its main force demanding that local villages swear loyalty to the shogun, allowing those who did so to continue to live peacefully, but marking the few who didn’t as targets for the army to wipe out. This was a highly successful policy, as archeology in several sites occupied during the period shows little in the way of conflict during this period.

The few settlements who did dare to oppose the invading shogun’s forces were dealt with harshly. Often having whatever defenses they had broken down and the town burned to the ground, often with its inhabitants still inside their homes. However until they reached the three cities opposition was relatively light.

The three cities were a series of relatively large neighboring cities which occupied the area that would later become Umiyoshima. The region was then at the center of Ronin power, with a warlord known as Joyoka (possibly a native name) controlling the region and claiming an army of some four thousand men.

Joyoka realized that he would likely loose his position even if he swore fealty to the shogun, his territory was simply to large and his power to great for him to be left alive by the army. And thus he planned to stand and fight. Gathering his forces and shoring up the defenses of his cities.

His efforts to defend his territory were ultimately futile. While we do not know any specific details for certain, and the records we do have are vague in the extreme, we know that after a siege of just a few months Joyoka was defeated and the three cities burnt to the ground in a move designed to show the price of resisting the shogun. Joyoka was the only significant warlord to oppose the invading army, but he was not the only warlord to be deposed.

Changes to the political landscape
While many local rulers and officials were allowed to retain their positions the shogun’s army did reorganize the territory they conquered into roughly fifty different fiefdoms, appointing members of the invasion to rule over each. A fiefdom typically contained at least one settlement of over one thousand inhabitants and the surrounding area, forming the basis for the city state period in Alyska which would culminate centuries later with the ascension of the Ori shogunate in the seventeenth century.

In short what the 1422 invasion of Alyska by the forces of shogun Yoshimochi accomplished was to put an end to a brief period of local rule by warlords in the region. Replacing the patchwork of small settlements with a cohesive centralized rule. The city of Umiyoshima becoming the defacto capital of the newly conquered territory. As from here would any official edicts from Kyoto be dispatched out.
Sorry for the lack of a post this week. I have been away from my domicile helping build my sister's house. Hopefully, fingers crossed I can write something tomorrow.
Ok So I am not going to have time to write an update today either. But I figured I would give anyone reading this TL a quick look at what will be coming in the next few updates.
So with that in mind here are the basic ideas for the next three updates, without giving anything away plot wise.

1) Next update I will explain the development of the Japanese settlements in Alyska under the ostensible authority of the Ashikaga Shogunate's rule.

2) Will explore the development of the Tlingit state to the north of the areas settled by the Japanese.

3)In this update I will explore the development of native civilizations in North America and how Japanese settlement in Alyska effects matters in this region.
Ch.03.01 Rule of the Shogun
Rule of the Shogun

In its first years rule from Japan differed little from the previous governance of the settlements in Alyska. With no major population centers, or infrastructure, the ability of the Shogun to enforce their control in Alyska was limited.

This began to change as more and more settlers from Japan began to arrive in the region. Part of a deliberate effort by the government in Kyoto to civilize the region and establish a proper society in the region. Previously most settlements revolved around the whaling and fishing fleets, but increasingly farmers began to settle in the region. Enticed their by promises of good farm land, no harsh taxes, and greater opportunities.

Although no census was taken in Alyska until the seventeenth century it is estimated that the population of Japanese Alyska in 1425 stood at well under one hundred thousand, likely only sixty to seventy thousand. However by the end of the century this figure had exploded to perhaps as many as half a million, with evidence of widespread settlement and urban development taking place in many cities. A testament to the effectiveness of Ashikaga efforts to settle and civilize the area.

With these new settlers came the end of the frontier atmosphere which had previously governed Alyska. The rule of law replaced the rule of the strong, taxes and levies were raised, and a local nobility was allowed to develop to govern the region, rather than whoever commanded the largest mob ruling as had been done previously.

Ashikaga rule brought a new and more settled period to Alyska, replacing the violence and chaos which had characterized its early settlement. With farming and other pursuits replacing fishing and whaling as the primary means of the economy as the century drew onwards.
Ch.03.02 Tlingit Kingdom
Following their exodus from their ancestral homelands due to Mongol settlement in the late thirteenth century it took the Tlingit tribes roughly a century to become firmly settled in their new homeland to the north of the Japanese settlements. During this time the various tribes and families within the larger Tlingit culture would split off and each laid claim to a region of territory to settle.

As contact with the Japanese settlements grew, trade between the two groups began seeing an exchange of ideas and culture which favored the Japanese. Many Ronin would come to enter the service of the Tlingit, imparting their knowledge of writing, agriculture, and building. All these traits would be slowly assimilated by the Tlingit. And soon myriad small settlements began to sprout up. With the population booming as a result of the introduction of regular cultivation of crops, namely buckwheat and rye.

Squabbles over land soon began, with the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century seeing various small Tlingit petty kingdoms emerge as small clans vied with one another for additional territory and farmland. A Japanese account written in 1428 makes mention of twenty seven separate kings ruling over the region, though it is careful to state that none of these “kingdoms” ruled over a major city or held a considerable army under their command.

Initially the Japanese states which had developed to the south did not view the Tlingit as a major issue, instead seeing them as similar to the other peoples around them. Generally insignificant and often assimilated into the Japanese sphere of influence thanks to ever expanding Japanese settlement which often led to the absorption of native settlements.

This began to change during the 1440s as the state of Arai began to expand through a series of wars of conquest. Annexing and absorbing numerous nearby settlements through war and diplomacy. Though records are scarce, and myth surrounds this period it is generally assumed this expansion was led by king Ainxou I, the first great king of the Tlingit.

Ainxou I was likely born in the late fourteenth century and it is claimed, though not known for certain, that he was educated in Japan proper. When he returned to his native village of Axaa he immediately set about reforming his society into a Japanese model state. Hiring many Japanese advisors and soldiers to help him in his efforts.

Regardless by 1460 Ainxou held a large and substantial state which had begun exacting tribute from the many smaller Tlingit and other native villages which surrounded him. This had drawn the attention of the Japanese, whose northern lords had grown alarmed at the growth of his power. They formed a league in 1464 and marched towards Axaa. Planning on deposing Ainxou and splitting up his kingdom.

This was a big mistake. Ainxou quickly rallied the still independent tribes around him and mobilized his forces. Using the threat of invasion to further cement his position of power in the region and meet the Japanese forces and defeat them in a battle in the outskirts of the city of Axaa. By 1466 he had even begun raiding Japanese settlements along the border in retaliation. A peace was reached in 1467 and Ainxou was recognized as the ruler over the entire region.

This was the start of the new Tlingit kingdom. Ainxou crowned himself as the high king of the Tlingit in 1469 and made Axaa his capital, with Arai also playing a key role in the history of the kingdom as a southern trade hub with the Japanese lords.

Over the next centuries the Tlingit state would wax and wane in its territorial extent, with the high kings of Ainxou’s line wielding various lines of power over the lesser kings. Under some high kings the position would wield nearly absolute power, while under others the position would be largely ceremonial. Little higher in authority than the lesser clan chiefs and petty kings.

Ainxou I would die in 1475 and his son Ainxou II would take his place. Further solidifying the kingdoms authority in the region, putting down a number of rebellions. And later in his reign doing his best to normalize the relationship with the Japanese lords to the south, resuming trade and lessening tensions between the two groups.
So last week I was very busy, and didnt have time to do a post. And today I just remembered I needed to get an update out, but am again very busy. So no update. Tomorrow though I dont have anything major going on (currently anyway but you never know) and so I should be able to write a long and detailed update which will detail native cultures on the north American continent and how Japanese settlement in Alyska effected the region.

Thats the theory anyway, but things have a way of changing at a moments notice so we will see.
Ch.03.03 The new world and Japan
The effects of Japanese settlement in the new world, 1400-1500.

Prior to Japanese settlement in the new world during the late fourteenth century and early fifteenth the societies and cultures of the new world seem backwards to our modern eyes. With many peoples, general culture and language groups calling the new world home. The majority of these people lived in loose family groups, existing by a hunter-gatherer lifestyle as had been done for thousands of years. Agriculture, domesticated animals, organized societal divisions, and written language were largely unknown outside of central America and the cultures there.

Mongolian settlement did not achieve any lasting effects upon the native people of the region. Aside from the displacement of the local native peoples into new areas. The empire’s presence had been to brief, and the number of survivors who merged with native populations to small, to achieve anything permanent in the region.

Early Japanese settlement likewise did not have a serious impact upon the cultures and people living near and alongside them. Far less any impact upon the distant cultures in the remainder of the continent. Japanese settlers lacked much in the way of technology such as farming implements and metallurgy, and lacked the ability to manufacture their own.

The general isolation of the region where Japanese settlements were initially established also must be born in mind. Few lived in the area where the Japanese chose to dwell, and many of those that did live in the area quickly chose to assimilate into the Japanese towns. Where there were better sources of food and shelter.

The age of Ronin, lasting from 1360 until 1420, saw the end of this era of relative isolation. Many Ronin would leave the larger settlements, even before the invasion of 1422, in an effort to establish their own mini-fiefdoms with whatever Japanese followers they could attract and whatever locals they could convince to join them.

This explosion of small villages in the Alyskan interior went largely unnoticed by the newly conquered heartland. Many Ronin became chieftans of local tribes, or else hired themselves out to the tribes. Selling their services and knowledge in exchange for their safety.

Slowly at first, but accelerating as the century wore on, the tribes around the Japanese settlements began to exhibit more and more Japanese characteristics. Adopting Japanese language as a trade language, and seeking out educated people to introduce Japanese agriculture and building practices to their peoples.

Permanent settlements began to pop up all around the region of Alyska during the period, notably in the Tlingit kingdom. But the Tlingit model for assimilating Japanese culture is followed by many tribes and clans on a larger or smaller scale. By 1500 many of these tribes would have largely lost their own native culture in favour of increasing Japanese elements.

Outside of the area immediately surrounding Japanese settlement this process dropped off sharply. With the manufacturing of various implements of agriculture, war and domestic use, being largely confined to Alyska itself. However trade of these items, as well as knowledge of agriculture, would penetrate deep into the north American continent. With archaeology in the United States showing trade items of Alyskan manufacture in sites as far east as present day Pennsylvania. With sites in Missouri holding significant hoardes of Alyskan goods. Suggesting major trade took place in the years before European contact with the continent.

The scale of this trade, as well as its extent and the involvement of Japanese merchants in it, is hotly debated. However the presence Alyskan goods, notably iron tools and pottery, in places as far flung as Mexico and Peru speaks to the serious scale of the trade.

That more native cultures did not adopt Japanese technology, culture, and language may seem strange to a casual observer. As does the lack of domesticated animals among native tribes. However this is likely the result of a lack of overall Japanese interest in assimilating larger territory outside Alyska. As well as a unified Japanese policy on the continent to guide operations in the region. Native cultures will be dealt with in future when the Spanish conquest is detailed.
Sneak Peak - 1
So I will post an update Friday as I will be out of town tomorrow. So I figured I would just make a quick post announcing that fact, and also give a little sneak peak at the subject of the next few updates. So here that post is!

1) Ashikaga decline

2) The Sensor war and the second age of Ronin, likely a two part

3) European exploration and expansion. 1490-1500
Ch.03.04 Ashikaga Decline
Ashikaga Decline
Ruling Japan for the better part of three centuries the Ashikaga Shogunate was responsible for the increased development in Alyska during the period. Encouraging the development of various feudal lords into the region settled by earlier Japanese settlers and bringing an end to the first age of Ronin.

However the shogunate was far from perfect. While the proceeding Kamakura Shogunate had possessed a centralized master-vassal system which they used to control the country, the Ashikaga did not possess sufficient personal property to adopt a similar system. Instead relying on the loyalty of increasingly powerful feudal lords, the Diamyo, in order to enforce their rule. Eventually these Diamyo would not only control land and military forces, but also law enforcement, taxation, and commerce in the territories they controlled.

This system led to increasingly difficulty in the latter years of the Shogunate, and even by the time of the Ashikaga invasion of Alyska the weaknesses of the Ashikaga system were becoming ever more pronounced. With the invasion and promise of new lands being a key policy for the shogunate during the period, allowing them to secure the loyalty of the nobles for a little longer.

As the fifteenth century continued on its course Japan became increasingly destabilized. With frequent succession crisis gripping the Ashikaga and disgruntled nobles causing ever more trouble. The short reigns of many Shoguns in the period did not help matters either.

The end of the Ashikaga would come in the Onin war, a civil war lasting from 1467-1477, which resulted from a succession crisis revolving around who would succeed Shogun Yoshimasa, with supporters coalescing around his brother Yoshimi, and infant son Yoshihisa. The war would expose the vulnerabilities of the Shogunate and plunge Japan into the Sengoku period, from which would eventually emerge the Tokugawa Shogunate.

In Alyska, as in the rest of Japan, Ashikaga decline would lead to increasing independence for local Diamyo and the region would be split into dozens, if not hundreds of small petty kingdoms and warlord fiefdoms.
Ch.03.05 the Senso war part one
The Senso war
Part One

During Ashikaga decline the various Diamyo established in Alyska flourished. With the central coastal cities like Umiyoshima expanding their control inland at the expense of the myriad of small feudal lords established after the invasion. By 1475 it is estimated only fifty or so feudal states held control over the region, in contrast to the almost three hundred holdings awarded in 1422.

In essence by the end of the period Alyska had been divided amongst a series of what were in essence city states and petty kingdoms whose rulers owed only nominal allegiance to the Shogun back in Japan. These small statelets seldom fought one another directly, expanding through marriage alliances and bluffing. However by the final quarter of the century this was rapidly coming to an end, with the larger states now encountering much stiffer resistance to their attempts at further expansion.

The Onin war back in Japan spelled an end to even the minimal control over Alyska that the Ashikaga had enjoyed. With various claimants to the title of Shogun each commanding their own supporters in Alyska. Alliances were formed and soon the regions powers were fighting one another in mimicry of the warfare back in Japan. As in Japan the fighting quickly degenerated into a series of bloody local conflicts, with the ideas of fighting for some greater purpose quickly descending into horrid local conflicts.
Over the next few days I will try to post some maps I have been working on showing the expansion of Japanese settlement in Alyska, as well as the Tlingit kingdoms growth. Probably taken from my notebook, but will give a good idea of where everything it.
Huh I wonder if all this conflict in Alyska will cause a small wave of expansion by people wanting to get away from the conflict. Moving to more remote areas or further outside the Warlords influence.
Huh I wonder if all this conflict in Alyska will cause a small wave of expansion by people wanting to get away from the conflict. Moving to more remote areas or further outside the Warlords influence.
Well not to give to much away but a little from column A, and a little from column B.
Oh I had such plans for the week. I was gonna write a bunch, illustrate some maps. All kinds of things. Then the US went through an attempted coup and I got glued to the political chat subforums of this site and SB. So that didnt happen. Also I had a headache all day and the power was out so bad times all around.

Hoping to get an update out tomorrow though.
Ch.03.06 the Senso war part two
The Senso war. Part Two

As The Onin war came to an end back in Japan, and the period known as the Sengoku Jidai period began in earnest, the fighting in Alyska was only just beginning. With the Ashikaga managing to keep peace and order in the region even as their power quickly faded in Japan itself. However during the 1470s it had rapidly become apparent to the Diamyo in Alyska that this peace was coming to an end. And so forces were gathered, secret meetings held, and alliances forged, all in preparation for the warfare that all could see was coming.

Fighting was brutal in the early years of what became known as the Senso war. Most records from the period being lost, but several surviving accounts mentioning battles pitting over a dozen small states against one another, with some battles said to have involved over fifty thousand troops and lasted for several days. These battles, as well as several large scale sieges are well documented from the archeological record. With Umiyoshima even being attacked in 1484 by the neighboring city of Nexo.

Two major factions emerged in the early days of the fighting, those who supported the Ashikaga and those who did not. From 1486 until 1490 the Senso war was fought, pitting these two factions against one another.

Again accounts vary wildly about the precise events of the war. But generally it is known that the pro-Ashikaga faction was led by Nexo (a corruption of a native word for stream) with the independence faction led by Umiyoshima. The two sides fought one another for a long period, with neither able to achieve any major advantage until parts of the Nexo army defected, leading to the destruction of the city under after a lengthy siege. This being done in 1487.

During the winter of that year both sides mustered their remaining forces for a final battle. With both factions nearly exhausted, Nexo’s destruction having cost both sides dearly, though the loyalist faction likely took the worst of it. When spring came both sides met outside the city of Ixlaca for what proved to be the pivotal battle of the war.

Records agree that the fighting was unparalleled in its brutality. With both sides committing entirely to the fight. After three days of bitter fighting, during which elaborate networks of trenches and defensive redoubts were built by both sides, Umiyoshima forces were victorious. Routing loyalist troops via an encirclement.

Although the fighting would continue until 1490 the Senso war had essentially ended with the utter destruction of loyalist forces in Alyska. Quickly the victorious faction led by Umiyoshima splintered. Breaking up into a dozen or so new factions. The second age of Ronin had begun.