A House of Lamps: A Moorish America

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by dontfearme22, Oct 23, 2017.

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  1. Contrary Well-Known Member

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    I just love it when TLs give culture, especially clothing, updates! It's so rare! Do you have any pictures/inspiration you can show us?
     
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  2. Timeline Junkie Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if Andalusi fashion will somehow catch on in the rest of the Muslim world or perhaps the rest of Europe. Andalusia seems like the perfect conduit for European culture and ideas to mingle with Arab/Islamic and other Asian cultures and ideas.

    Speaking of Andalusia being a conduit for Islamic and European ideas to mingle, what is cuisine like? Andalusia now has access to New World crops like chili peppers, potatoes, corn, and tomatoes and I can assume through trade it has access to different spices. Cuisine is also shaped by geography, so I would imagine that Andalusi cuisine would feature things that OTL Spain produces. For example, olives, grapes, and saffron among other crops. I would expect that there would be some similarities between those of the Christian kingdoms in Iberia. I guess a major difference would be that Andalusi cuisine uses no pork and probably has more superficial similarities with Middle Eastern cuisines.

    17th-century Andalusi cuisine would essentially be a synthesis of Arab-Berber and Iberian cuisine that has access to a plethora of ingredients from chili peppers to potatoes to rice to saffron to eggplants.


    Growing potatoes would most definitely be smart on Andalusia's part. They are calorically dense and will be able to sustain large populations of people much more easily. They'd be grown in the colonies as well as al-Andalus provided the climate is right for potatoes.
     
  3. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

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    Yes, but they were concentrated in central Iberia like the Mozarabs so they did not fare well. However, they still remain as a distinct, if reduced, group in the region. The Andalusian government gives them a fair amount of tolerance though it has varied according to ruler. Hussain especially persecuted them before his downfall.

    Lets start with fashion. Christian Iberian clothing certainly is influenced by Andalusi designs, but whether it is Andalusian clothing being influenced by them or vice-versa is a difficult thing to parse out. Andalusian clothing is most popular among european merchants and sailors, since they spend the most time interacting with them. Similarily, New World colonists have adopted certain Riyshi clothing styles since they are more suited to local climates than european clothes. Spanish explorers in the (OTL) Carolinas would be wearing to a man Arab style pants and sandals.

    Wheat, and a significant minority rice, are still the predominant crops in Iberia. Corn is spreading like wildfire in Africa, and once potatos appear in the Old World (The conquest of potato-growing regions is still a bit young for them to travel up the trade routes in any significant quantity) you will see them spread as well. Corn has not become popular in Iberia. It is viewed as rustic still, since it is grown in the Riysh as peasant food.

    I am still working out exactly how the agricultural situation in Iberia develops over the 1600s. After all, it was Hussains peasant land reforms that started this whole mess to begin with. It only gets more complex from there.

    Of all New World crops, Tobacco by far has proven most popular at this point in the Old World, but you can't eat a cigarette (unless you really go for it), so lets move on to your question about cuisine.

    You are spot-on with your idea of food. Andalusian food is still conservative, rooted firmly in Arab-Berber, Iberian cuisine but also with strong regional influences. Food in the east has a stronger Catalan influence, the western port cities use much more new world spices like chilis owing to Riyshi food (which is balls to the walls creole food by this point), while the south is the most 'arab'. Something like OTL Paella would fit right in a 17th century Andalusi kitchen.
     
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  4. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    With the destruction of the north and rise of the ottomans, is Grenada the fastest growing city and next challenger to Seville? The trade would be alot, and safety of granada means alot of important pops and pop's in general are coming there. With the north kinda pissed with the gov northern areas could try fucking with them by diverting there trade to come to granada to get back at the merchants of seville.
     
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  5. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

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    Grenada, Lisbon and Cadiz are all contenders. Cadiz especially because of its political importance for the new regime, and its the main port for New World trade.
     
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  6. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

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    Normally I would, but I wrote this on a tight schedule so it is just words for now. All my posts until my next timeline will be text only, and then that one will have some new maps.
     
  7. Threadmarks: The Caditanos: Part 2

    dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

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    The Caditanos, Part 2:
    A Shaky Peace


    c. 1630 - 1677


    War is worse than hell, because hell only punishes those who deserve it. By the 1630s, the rebel alliance that conquered Seville and overthrew the last decadent Ayshunid Sultans was firmly entrenched in power. They had done such a feat amid the worst war in recent memory. Half of Iberia was ravaged by rampaging armies. From the hills of Navarre to the wide plains of Almansha (al-Mansha) [La Mancha] war blighted the land.


    The 17th century is one of recovery, and dramatic change. The Wazirate of Seville, as the new state became known, is perceived as a last flicker of Andalusian glory in an age of ever-growing Christian expansion. This perception extends through both Muslim, and Christian historians. Yet it was by its own merits a uniquely enduring state. Through capable leadership and innovative policies, the Wazirate maintained control over a sprawling colonial empire while similar European nations saw their first efforts collapse into disorder. Much of this was because the Wazirate inherited a well-maintained, efficient, bureaucratic network. Yet with this bureaucracy they also inherited the seething regional tensions that constantly sapped at Ayshunid sovereignty. Whether the Wazirate is a continuation of Ayshunid rule or a repudiation of it depends on one’s perspective. It was equally both. A different note in the same key. For brevitys sake we will define the ‘Early Wazirate’ as those years between the death of the last Ayshunid Sultan to the Declaration of Nazur in 1677. To tell the story of the first rulers of the Wazirate, let us begin, as most things do in Andalusia, in Seville. The year is 1635.


    The Sultan at this time was Salman Ibn Abdul al-Bashara, or Salman the Silent owing to his soft-spoken nature. He was a native of Cadiz (Qadis). That fact lent the entire movement its most enduring name, though in reality its most prominent supporters were based in Granada. This Rei de Cadis had spent his early years supervising a string of military expeditions to restore basic order to Iberia. He was really a figurehead for a cabal of powerful nobles who undertook the actual affairs of state, piecing back together the old Ayshunid regime that Hussain (The last Sultan) had threatened. In 1635 al Bashara succeeded in pushing the Rundah family out of power. This powerful family produced the first rebel leaders, including the outspoken republican Salim Ibn Hamas al-Din. By 1635 their support inside the royal council, or shura had eroded enough that the anti-Rundah faction in the court decided to remove them completely. Al-Bashara divided Rundah held lands in Granada between his own supporters. Salim himself fled to the Riysh, where he had a small number of supporters there. This marked the end of republicanism as a movement in Iberia. It also was the end of the first rebel coalition in favor of a new cadre of leaders. The most powerful member of the council became Ali Abu Badr al-Ghazi, a powerful landlord who was granted control over much of Granada after the Rundah fall from grace. He had previously owned lands in Colinas (Batalyaws) [Extremadura]. This made him one of the richest men in Iberia. His younger brother, also named Ali (called al-Zafra to distinguish him from his brother) took over control of these estates after Abu Badrs grants in Granada.


    Together these two men masterminded al-Basharas reign. They were landed aristocrats of ancient stock but possessed among them a sharp wit for the intrigues of the modern world. They keenly recognized the need to maintain firm control over both the colonies, and the different factions in Iberia if the new government was to succeed. After their rise to prominence in 1635 they only continued to gather power through bribes and political negotiations.


    Andalusia was in the midst of an economic revolution in the 1630s – 40s as many former peasants rose to middle class status. The decimation of the old village economy meant there was ample room for remaining farmers to negotiate better contracts with landowners and acquire more lands for themselves. This coupled with a centralization of wealth among an even smaller subset of the nobility. In short, those nobles who were bankrupt by the wars and famines had to sell of their land for cheap, and those nobles who still had money to spend bought this land themselves. They would then give it as grants to remaining tenants to manage in their stead, since nobles were increasingly pulled between estates in many different regions. Abu Badr bought land on the cheap in central Iberia, turned it over to mid-level farmers in return for their support, and used the profits to fund his businesses managing trade with the colonies. Some peasants were becoming richer, some poorer, but the gap between the rich and the truly wealthy was expanding at an obscene rate. Al Bashara was aware of his position as but a mediator between this ultra-rich families and played it well. He ensured that the favor of the Sultan in the form of title and legal privileges were bestowed on the leading families in the region in exchange for their support.


    This system was corrupt in the extreme, but it was never designed to be anything else. The shura was a council of the elite, ruling for the elite, keeping the Sultan tightly in its grasp. Al Bashara never had qualms with this. He funneled wealth to his personal projects (he is favorably remembered for founding many libraries in Iberia and Morocco), content to leave decision-making to his backers. Inevitably this system began to degrade as these wealthy families clashed more and more over a dwindling surplus of open land. The first signs were minor rebellions in central Iberia. Local elites were frustrated by the states abandonment of them during the earlier wars. The influx of western landowners grabbing up land that had been violently depopulated by war was only a further insult. A group of central Iberian leaders petitioned al Bashara for concessions in 1638, who put forth a law granting an annual stipend to victims of the war there. This was too little, far too late. Not only were rebuilding efforts scattershot, they were tied to western leaders who only funded works in areas where they held lands. Further land grabbing after the concessions continued to inflame the issue.


    One essential example of the political intrigue of this period involved Abu Badr taking advantage of the brewing discontent in central Iberia to further consolidate his families position. He had the shura pass a law that war veterans were entitled to land if they could prove their veterancy to their local landlord. This law was proposed by Zayd Ibn Idris, a Mishican merchant who did it ostensibly with colonial veterans in mind, a theatre of war where there was ample land to support such an ordnance. Ibn Idris was of course, following orders from Abu Badr. This law was truly designed to sow chaos in central Iberia, a region with many soldiers and much less land to give away. He also knew, that these veterans would be petitioning his rivals in the Daba family who had been responsible for much of the landgrabbing there.


    Predictably, in 1639 riots broke out after hundreds of former soldiers were turned away in central Iberia. The Daba were buying land in central Iberia with the intent of turning them into massive farming estates. This law poked holes into those properties. It also made them look like poor administrators. Abu Badr was able to garner support from veterans while losing some support from landowners. He could weather that loss, since the landowners that backed him were in regions where this law had less effect.


    It was the first of many efforts to purposely cripple Andalusian territories to hurt his rivals. It was an open secret, that his involvement in the 1643 negotiations to partition Serenida [Florida] with Valois was to get revenge at Serenidan officials for backing his rivals in Riyshi politics. Abu Badr died in 1648, succeeded by his younger brother. By his death, he owned more lands personally than any man in Andalusia. He used the fledgling state as his personal weapon while ensuring its prosperity. No other man can bear so much credit for the character of the Wazirate, as flawed as it was. Between 1648 and 1659 this factionalism only became more and more severe.


    This constant undercurrent of political vindictiveness came to a head in 1659 when the merchant Hakam Ibn Ahmad Ibn Salah threatened rebellion against al Bashara over an argument at a boar-hunt. No details remain, but it is believed al Bashara had publicly rejected Hakams request to marry his eldest daughter. This was by extension, a repudiation of Hakams influence at court. The seething merchant soon whipped up public frenzy. He painted al Bashara (rightfully) as a corrupt pawn of the elites. Hakam had powerful friends among the clerics who held considerable sway among the populace. Al Bashara was soon forced out by his own supporters to be replaced by Al-Afdal Muhammad, a minor figure of little importance. Al-Afdals only policy of note was granting governorship of the Algarve to Hakam, and then was himself forced out in favor of Abdul Fatah al-Sidi. Al-Sidi was called the ‘Half-Turk’ and showed promise, settling a series of land disputes in Morocco before being assassinated 8 months into his rule. His successor, Ibn Al-Furas, lasted half that time.


    The Wazirate state was broken up into two main power groups by this point, each putting forward candidates and conspiring to remove the other groups candidates. On one side were the families backing Ali al-Zafra (Abu Badrs successor). They constituted the western & southern Iberian and Riyshi colonial families. They had significant support from the merchant classes. On the other side were the supporters of Abu Abdallah Ubayd Al-Ben. He came from a powerful Iberian family with deep ties to the Baraniyan lumber trade. His family had actually bankrolled the expeditions that would eventually become the dominion of Hassan. The Ubaydis gained fame as accomplished seamen. Ubaydi admirals notched important victories against European vessels in securing the north African coast.


    These groups pushed back and forth in the years between 1660 and 1664. The Ubaydis succeeded in keeping their candidate, Mufarrij Ibn Ubada as Sultan without replacement for the next two decades after 1661. Their opponents tried to recapture control but were rebuffed time and again. They finally collapsed after a scheme to cede Andalusian trade control over North Africa to the Ottomans in exchange for Ottoman support in a coup was uncovered by Ubaydi spies. Al-Zafras son, Mustafa, was executed along with 12 others for treason in 1665. The same year local authorities defeated a revolt in the Ubaydi stronghold of Baraniya, finally reestablishing full control over the region’s fractious interior.


    In 1666, Mufarrij ibn Ubada purged the upper ranks of the government. Hundreds of governmental figures were exiled, executed or jailed. This included the Ubaydi family elders. Ibn Ubada followed this move by stacking the shura with sunni clerics supportive of his regime. He was keenly aware of the importance of public opinion. He carried out public works projects to rehabilitate the under-funded Valoisian frontier which made great progress in reintegrating the restive eastern nobles into the government. Abroad he cultivated an image as a restrained, wise scholar. He traveled widely, becoming the first Wazirate Sultan to visit the colonies. He maintained good relations with the Ottomans despite their support of his former rivals.


    This popularity did not extend to everyone. Between 1666 and 1670 Ibn Ubada survived three assassination attempts. Continued expansion in the New World, and an expedition to Mauritania kept the empire growing, which he used to grant new lands as rewards to his commanders. By all accounts, Ibn Ubada genuinely cared about ruling, rewarding capable administration rather than slavish loyalty. His son, Muhammad, married into the family of the admiral Abdullah Ibn Jasir al-Fath in 1675. The al-Fath family were important traders and soldiers from the Riysh. By integrating them into the court, he united his personal Baraniyan interests with a respected Riyshi family. This marriage proved fortuitous, as the elder Abdullah al-Fath (the grandfather of Jasir) proved a crucial ally in promoting Ibn Ubadas 1677 Declaration of Nazur. This granted full citizenship rights to the so-called hamihos (in Arabic, ghayimi), Arabs of partial native descent.


    Ibn Ubada wanted to restrain the Mishikan Arabs and granting political power to the hated Mishikan creole underclass was his tactic to do so. Wars with European powers in the New World were also demanding more and more men on the frontier. Andalusi law had previously restricted certain peoples from military service outside of temporary mercenary status, which was notoriously abused by local Arabs to create their own petty armies. Now Ibn Ubada could legally raise and field whole regiments of mixed-race soldiers for colonial defense under his authority alone.


    The old Arab colonial elites smarted at the usurpation of their authority but could not gather enough support in the shura to counter it. Ibn Ubada had consolidated enough power beneath him that the oligarchical masterminding of al Basharas day was no longer possible. This move did endear him with the colonial lower classes. Ibn Ubada was a lifelong populist. It did have the mixed effect of only further encouraging national sentiments in Morocco. Seeing colonial peasants receive better rights while Morocco still languished as an occupied territory inflamed the nascent separatist movements there.


    This law marks a pivotal change in the political situation of the Wazirate. It was a forceful assertion of Sultanate authority in the colonies in a way that colonial leaders had hoped to avoid during the Wazirates formative years. It showed the renewed power of the Sultan, and at the same time the importance of the shura in legitimizing that power. Sultans could no longer make laws at a whim, they had to bargain, negotiate, compromise, to garner support from the representatives of their empire. The Wazirate had fully assumed the mantle of a multicultural empire, a modern empire, a parliamentary empire. It is fitting to end the early Wazirate period with this.


    A Note on the political organization of the Wazirate:


    The Wazirate of Seville was never called that name by those who founded it. Formally, it was the Sultanate of Seville (Saltanat Ishbiliyya), also called the (Saltanat al-Baharin), “Sultanate of the Two Seas” to represent its control over the Atlantic and Mediterranean. It was ruled by a Sultan elected by an council (Majlis ash-shura) of 50 - 300 viziers (wazir) who engaged in consultation (shura) over state affairs. How much power this council had over the Sultans authority was rarely codified and varied greatly by the individual ruler. The councils greatest power was electing a new Sultan from among their members, but the Sultan once elected could technically overrule the councils decisions – and all council decisions were made in the Sultans name.


    This council was meant to represent all the peoples of the empire. It maintained a rough ratio between clerics, the Iberian landed nobility, merchant classes, and colonial elites, the so-called ‘four feet’ of Andalusian politics. It created legislation for secular matters (qanun) where Islamic law (shari’ah) could not provide clear ruling. The Sultan could then promulgate their own personal edicts “under the Will of the Sultan” vs. “under the Sultans eyes” for qanun law. The Sultan could in theory rule as an absolute monarch in the traditional fashion, but in practice Sultans would have to negotiate with the council to ensure their laws were faithfully respected. This unspoken arrangement defines the Wazirate in relation to the Ayshunids, where the Sultan was sole undisputed master.


    Alongside the Sultan, the council had twelve appointed ministers for state affairs, who each supervised their own department. The religious heads of the nation maintained considerable autonomy. Islamic courts were the only courts for all law except for where local authorities granted minority groups their own ‘communal’ courts (which could be overruled when the government saw fit). Judges were expected to be experts in shari’ah first, and qanun second. They were however also expected to be assisted by expert advisors on specialist matters like trade policy.


    Each regional governor had to maintain order and collect taxes on behalf of the central government. They could petition for laws from the national council or make their own declarations as they saw fit. The Sultan reserved the right to overrule all other laws in the nation. This almost never happened. Local authorities had significant power in their own territories, and routine disobedience of state law was common.


     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  8. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    so is it similar to the English monarchy? If you have a strong king like Henry the 8th they can rule like a absolute king even though parliament existed, while a weaker king like John its more balanced out due to barons and parliament?
     
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  9. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

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    Exactly. Up until Ibn Ubada, Sultans were little more than rubber-stamps for the council. Ibn Ubada is unique in that he is negotiating with the council from a position of authority. You are seeing in Iberia what you see across Europe: the idea of the king as being bound to the will of his government, rather than being the government. Iberian Islam is putting more and more emphasis on the fallibility of the sultan and the need for the ulama and other educated men to guide him.

    The question then becomes, if the sultan is fallible, and the sultan makes a unpopular decision that would appear un-islamic....a new sultan must then be elected. What happens when only part of the council believes this?
     
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  10. Timeline Junkie Well-Known Member

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    Civil war?

    How will that be prevented?

    With ....
    Entrance examinations for becoming a wazir? A certain property requirement?

    Perhaps laws against immediate family succession?
     
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  11. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    Bit of a nitpick but would boar hunting be that much of a thing in a Muslim society?
     
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  12. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

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    It smells like some sort of proto-theorepublicanism (boy is that a conjoined word) is being seeded in the Wazirate. Given her oceanic reach and commercial influence, I wonder if this system is being looked at by other peoples.
     
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  13. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

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    You would think that, but boar hunting ocurred in OTL islamic societies from the Mamluks to even the Ottomans. Heres a quote:
    upload_2019-7-3_9-11-21.png

    from Ahmed I and "Tuhfet'iil-miih1k ve's-selatin": A Period Manuscript on Horses, Horsemanship and Hunting, Tiilay Artan (2010)

    Taboos around pork were also not as strong in Al Andalus compared to other parts of the muslim world OTL,
    Sologestoa, Idoia & García-García, Marcos. (2018). Pig tales: swine consumption in Medieval Iberia. ICAZ International Conference Ankara, September 2018.

    The way I see it, they were hunting boars - but not eating them. A boar is a large, dangerous animal. There is prestige to be had in successfully slaying one.

    A wazir is appointed by a vote of the other wazirs, so its basically - be rich, and have powerful friends. That implies a property requirement.

    You will see it take hold in the Riysh, but those filthy colonials aren't supposed to have power in the first place. Remember the most radical republicans fled there after being booted out of Seville.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
  14. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    Learn something new every day.
     
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  15. Pilatypus Bulldog Shipper

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    Boar is not just a dangerous animal, it's also a pest that even now are still hunted because they tend to heavily damage farms. Doesn't matter if you're muslim or not, it's still a highly dangerous pest which has to be controlled.
     
  16. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

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    So people don't think I yeeted out again - actively working on the next timeline update. Will be posted sometime this month.
     
  17. CountDVB Dual Emperor of the Aztech and Maychanical Empires

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    The meat could still be sold to the non-followers for some profit and maybe do something with the bones, hides and tusks
     
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  18. agisXIV Digital Hoplite

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    Do they hunt with dogs in al-Andalus? I am sure that they would appreciate the free pork
     
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  19. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

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    Yes. Hunting is a big part of aristocratic Iberian life. Large organized mounted hunts are a way for noble men to show off their athletic prowess, associate outside the confines of the estate (and their wives), and flaunt their status.
     
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  20. dontfearme22 Chicalotlatonti

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    The next update will be a different, longer, format than previous ones. For instance, I want to not only give highlights per year like usual but also do more detailed dives in important single events / trends per period. I have been taking inspiration from Planet of Hats in terms of dense, focused timeline updates. Oh, and the maps are going to be good, totally retooling my map creation process this time around.

    Expect the Dutch to kick ass, protestant Spain, and bombs. Big, big, bombs.
     
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