A House of Lamps: A Moorish America

Life on the Northern Arab Frontier in the 17th century
Life on the Northern Arab Frontier in the 17th century

The Oriolan frontier [Northern Mexico, the Southwestern and Western United States] is one of the largest expanses of wilderness on the planet. Harsh conditions, dangerous wildlife, and hostile native peoples constantly threatened the Arab presence in the region, which forced adapting to a radically different lifestyle to that experienced anywhere in the Old World. Individual outposts could go months, or even years, without contact from the outside world. It was an accepted fact that the majority of land would go unpatrolled, unwatched, and unguarded at all times. Arab administrators governed over a territory they never personally visited, where their laws could only be enforced on paper.


On Arab maps the entire landscape was called Salinah [Northern Mexico, American West], but that term perhaps was viewed as insufficient to describe the true nature of the land the first colonists discovered. Arabs dubbed the frontier the Qafar, or ‘wasteland’. Over time it instead became the washuqa, a native placename [Huachucha Mountains, Arizona] that was extended to the entire landscape north of the borders of Mishica (Mishika) and east of the coastal lands of Yikaq [Mexican Gulf Coast]. Washuqa meant more than just a vague territory but the entire mindset, the lifestyle that came along with it. When the writer Abu Hazim visited the region in the mid-1600s, the locals did not describe themselves as Arabs but as Washuqi.

As one travelled north from Mishica the land becomes increasingly sparse and arid, reaching an apex in scorching, almost unearthly red deserts broken up by rock bluffs and the rare stream. Even farther north the land becomes covered by scrubland, and then stunted forest, and then dramatic mountains break up into soaring snow-covered peaks on one side, with an endless expanse of grassland on the other. The farthest north Arabs ever travelled in this period was the remote outpost at Tabula [Chinle, Arizona], though some explored much farther while on raids or trade expeditions. Stories of massive canyons and hostile tribes deterred settlement any further. To the south, the settlement of Al-Jarha [northeast of Phoenix, by the Salt River, Arizona] was the furthest year-round inhabited town. Further south still, Mashath was the de-facto regional capital [Sabinas, Coahuila, Mexico]. The immense distances between large settlements was always a major factor in frontier life.


The Andalusi administration in the New World was centered in the Riysh, the first, and most developed colonial possession by far. Continental territory was always treated as a military occupation first, where control had to be constantly reinforced with punitive measures. There was also an understanding among colonial officials that to maintain order concessions had to be made with groups on the ground. In the lack of close enforcement, administrators settled for intermediary relationships with local authorities and curbing excesses with selective applications of force – extreme force in some cases. This philosophy extended to the frontier. As long as taxes were paid the authorities were content to leave the region to its own devices unless their hands were forced. Despite the rare attempt at more inspired governing by some, this withdrawn method of rule remained the norm across Andalusi colonial possessions.

Formally the Arab official responsible for Salinah was an Amir al-Bariya, or the Amir “of the Wilderness”. This position protected the porous borders between the ‘wilderness’ and the Arab-dominated colonial sphere. The Amir ensured peaceful relations along the border, the consistent payment of tribute agreements, and watched Arabs engaging in operations outside of Arab territory to make sure they were acting in the interest of the state. Originally this position was a strictly military one reserved for someone of the officer class, but eventually it was granted to civilian administrators and even native (Islamized) leaders. It was a warrant by the state to create a local representative of its authority in a region where it could not govern effectively in the usual means. There was usually a dozen or more active along the Arab frontier at any given time. The Amir could appoint their own representatives, but how developed the bureaucracy was for an area depended on the command style of that specific individual. For most of the 17th century the northern frontier was under the jurisdiction of Imran Abu Amir al-Akhir (1588 – 1640) Abul-Hawari al-Nasran (1601 – 1665), and then Ziyad al-Hanahanu (1647 – 1730). Al-Hanahanu was mixed-race (on his mothers side), while the others were Arabs of Iberian or Riyshi origin. All were prominent landlords in Mishika before appointment.

In the individual towns the religious / judicial qadi and the secular shaykh were the principle figures of authority. The Andalusi state placed a strong emphasis on a regulated, powerful, and well-funded judicial system that existed alongside secular chains of command. The qadi, or judge, passed legal judgements in the service of God rather than the state. Their powers were always vaguely defined, and this was even truer on the frontier. The qadi became the lynchpin of the community in daily matters from settling disputes, supervising public works, or the distribution of charity.

Because the qadi was under no obligation to answer to the ruling administrator, whether that was an amir or wali (governor) the shaykh became the states agent on the ground. A shaykh is a traditional arab tribal title, but overtime it became an official position in the Andalusi bureaucracy. The shaykhs primary responsibility was ensuring the public order, organizing the defense of the community, and ensuring taxes were paid. Unlike the hated tax-collector (amil) who traveled from town to town, the shaykh was appointed within the local community and expected to live close to his subjects. The relationship between the secular shaykh and the qadi could be quite tense at times, but both were vital to the proper functioning of a town. Both officials had authority to appoint others to enforce their decisions, which could lead to a doubling-up of duties, or even conflict.


Strict laws restricted the various groups inside the Andalusi state, whether ethnic or religious. This system placed Arabs at the top, then certain Muslim foreigners (Arabs, Turks etc.), mixed-race Arabs, Dhimmi, and then infidels at the bottom. Informally, Iberian Arabs were given favored treatment over colonials, and Muslim black Africans or Berbers were treated as inferior even if they were legally equivalent to Turks or other ‘preferred’ foreigners.

On the frontier pure-blood Arabs quickly gave way to significant intermarriage with native peoples. By the 1600s several centuries of intermingling had created a large population of half-Arab, half-native peoples called ghayimi. They spoke Arabic or Arab-based creoles and were raised muslim. Many of these ghayimi came from the native peoples of Mishika not Salinah, having been given incentives to settle the northern border lands. These peoples joined groups of Islamized natives who themselves had a long pedigree as soldiers guarding the distant borders of the Arab colonial empire.

Dhimmi and non-Arab Muslims (not native) made a small minority in Salinah. Riyshi officials were always terrified of the possibility of undesirable groups building communities in the region. While dhimmi were allowed in certain parts of the new world, they were always forbidden from the northern border. One proposed reason for this was that Riyshi officials still treated the northern frontier as ‘pure’ where the other border regions of the empire (Brania [South America], Niblu [Florida], and Yikaq [Gulf Coast]) had enough European presence that the effort felt pointless. As for non-Arab Muslims, there simply was no reason to travel to such a harsh landscape where other options were available.

As a general rule of thumb, about 5 – 20% of a frontier town was Arab, and the rest was a mixed proportion of ghayimi and Islamized natives, with 5% of other groups.


Unlike the Shishima [Northern Mexico] where silver-mining was a hugely profitable economic venture, the lands north of it had no such industry that could encourage investment by the colonial government. The Salinan economy was instead built on ranching, slave-raiding, and trade. Reports of gold deposits in the northern deserts never materialized despite several exploratory expeditions.

Like other Arab frontier zones, the first Arabs to probe the wilderness were slave-raiders and merchants before there ever were formal explorers. Some Sufi mystics also wandered the area. Because Islamized natives were legally barred from enslavement, and African slavery was banned in many areas for fear of revolt, slave-raiders were always incentivized to sweep further and further to fill their quotas. Mashath became the center it was because it was a key stopping-point for slave caravans heading for the Mishikan coast (and the plantations there).

Along with slavers came traders. Both Arabs, and native peoples preferred to trade at neutral meeting grounds where neither group had to be present at the same time – so-called ‘silent trades’. One group would leave their goods, and the other would arrive at a different time and leave their own goods. Both groups would adjust their amounts of goods until an acceptable ratio was reached. It was a push and pull relationship. Merchants were also willing to buy slaves themselves alongside other goods. The distinction between the two groups was always a blurred one. Besides captives, hides, precious stones, lumber, and caged animals were major imports. Arabs traded metal tools, textiles, luxury items and spices. Some native groups had developed their own herding cultures, raising sheep and goats in large herds on their own lands. Native ranchers, whether from Mishika (which had its own centuries old equestrian traditions) or from nearby tribes, were in high demand to manage Arab-owned herds.

Settling the Frontier

The border was so large that there was no realistic chance to watch its entire extent at all times. Neither was the border clearly defined. A network of widely dispersed forts dotted throughout the entirety of Salinah protected against hostile raids. Each used a system of mounted couriers and signal fires to communicate with nearby settlements (the concept of sending signals through puffs of smoke was adopted from native peoples). In effect, the entire frontier was treated as the border.

Most of the military infrastructure in the frontier was of Ayshunid construction. Several sultans provided funds for defense of the region, but where those funds were allocated was delegated to regional appointees. Forts were clustered to the east and northwest, where Europeans and hostile tribes concentrated respectively. A chain of forts protected the main roads into the north, each snaking along both sides of the Shishima desert. Many of them became larger settlements as local peoples settled down around them for protection.

Frontier towns were as a rule, small, practical, and built for defense. Ramshackle, with structures made of local wood and adobe. They clustered around a central mosque, the largest and often first building in the area. The native concept of a central sacred plaza merged with the old Arab idea of the souq to create towns built with large open-air meeting places, with religious, administrative and commercial buildings all at separate ends of it. In many towns this was called the atali, a derivation of a nahuatl term. Houses faced inwards without windows on the outside perimeter so there was a makeshift wall surrounding the town. Narrow roads could be easily blocked off in the event of attack.

Frontier towns were small, most a few dozen to a few hundred inhabitants. There were few stone buildings, with even the largest structures made out of adobe. Drywall stone architecture was used at times, when a local official could hire the services of a trained team of masons for a prestigious building project. For the dozens of small farming communities that dotted the landscape, every structure was built out of layers of adobe and plaster, with rugged local woods studding their outer surfaces.

Frontier Wars

War was a fact of life on the frontier. Native peoples often attacked Arab settlements, whether for plunder or as retaliation for Arab exploitations. After all, the Arabs were unwanted invaders in lands that long belonged to different masters. Arabs constantly tried to gain from native peoples, to convert them, to use them, to capture them. The Arabs themselves were no strangers to raiding either. Constant punitive expeditions against unruly tribes added to a cycle of constant violence.

Soldiers were always stationed at the many forts in the area. Before the declaration of Nazur these were Mishikan or Riyshi Arabs (service in Salinah was considered to be the worst position one could be selected for). After the Declaration, these were exchanged for locally raised levies led by their own officers. These ghayimi units were paid the bare minimum and equipped with the cheapest gear available. Uniforms were poorly regulated, with many wearing their civilian clothing. Soldiers used a mix of firearms, with some even using matchlocks a century or more in age. The local habit of wearing simple white head-wrappings under the ubiquitious wide-brimmed sun hats gave these levies their enduring nickname of al-buthur (lit. pimples).

Horse-riding was a crucial skill among any frontier Arab. As it became clear a highly mobile response force was necessary to combat mounted native horsemen, cavalry corps were formed at all border forts. Many forts also kept groups of camel-riders, whose mounts scared native horses. Unlike the horse, feral camels were shunned by native peoples who believed it to be a unclean, cursed animal.

As in other frontiers, native auxiliaries were used to supplement manpower and as guides. Islamized natives were either recruited, or compelled into service. At times, even unconverted natives were bought for temporary service. Slave soldiery was a old tradition in the Islamic world, but was never used in the frontier. It was rightly believed, that using local slaves against their kinsmen ran a high risk of those slaves rebelling. At most there are records of some wealthy men in the area using their own private black bodyguards for their protection (these bodyguards were obviously bought in the old world).

The days when a band of enemy warriors could be dispersed by a simple gunshot were long gone by the 17th century. Centuries of trade well beyond Arab borders had ferried weapons far into the north. Feral animals and even ones sold by unscrupulous merchants made their way all across the Oriolan continent. Whole nations had risen and fallen, societies reorganized, economies built on the power of the horse without a single Arab ever knowing of it. Native warriors were not only exceptional horsemen, but also skilled shots.

Only a combination of targeted firepower, discipline, and rapid cavalry to cavalry action could defeat a determined enemy warband. Often, when facing a serious raid the strategy was to board up inside defensible positions and let the enemy move unmolested through the landscape until they moved on to more vulnerable territory. Only when the Arabs were confident of superior odds did they engage a large enemy force. Most of the efforts of individual patrols were spent driving off bandits who could be more easily dissuaded than a enemy force prepared for a serious fight.

The Native Peoples of Salinah

The Arabs referred to the many different groups they encountered by as many names. At first, all the peoples of the north were shishimanah , but as the Arabs made more lasting contacts they learned new names for these peoples. Many were based on the lifestyle of a particular group. There was a distinction between those who lived in towns (dhanha) and those who led nomadic lifestyles (ub). These are both terms derived from one of the earliest northern peoples to have peaceful contact with Arab merchants, the Al-Shinadhi [a branch of the Pima peoples]. Arabs reserved special hatred for the peoples called the ghush [Athabaskan-speakers, Apache], northern tribes they saw as uniquely savage. Ghush raids, provoked by rapacious Arab slaving expeditions, devastated early settlements.

Over time many native peoples banded into larger confederations formed of many smaller tribes. These could control much larger territories, and acted more like nomadic states. Several of these dominated the frontier, though because their authority was hegemonic and less territorial, many of them held sway in ostensibly Arab-controlled lands. Arabs had amicable relationships with some of them, but the most famous one of them all was decidedly hostile, the Mamlukat al-Kashuratiyya – The Cachuran Confederation. This nomadic state appeared in the early 1600s but remained a bit player until a massive expansion in the 1670s till it rule land from the gulf forests across the plains inland. The ensuing war with this state crippled the Arab frontier until the core Cachuran tribes were slaughtered in a series of battles in the 1690s. It showed the real power of native peoples, and forced a complete rethinking of the Arab colonial strategy. More than anything else, it showed that the horse-empires of the Oriolan plains could be a more deadly opponent than even the mighty empires of Mishika had been so many centuries ago.

Not all relations were hostile. Generally, Arabs were much friendlier to sedentary peoples than nomadic ones. Arabs depended on native trade just as many tribes came to depend on Arab import goods. Native words entered the local dialects of Arabic, adding to an already substantial corpus of Mishikan loanwords. Lastly, local intermarriage was a common practice between Arabs and native communities. Sufism especially became popular among local peoples who merged their beliefs with its moderate approach to Islam.



Do the Arabs end up bringing Berber, Tuareg, and Turkish tribesmen as auxilleries on the frontier? Could come in handy to have the best of old world cavalry to defend the border.
A appetizer of yee haw habibi before the timeline update
Do the Arabs end up bringing Berber, Tuareg, and Turkish tribesmen as auxilleries on the frontier? Could come in handy to have the best of old world cavalry to defend the border.
The Tuareg are too far removed from the Andalusian 'sphere' to be in their military. Closer to that sphere though, Morocco, is a big recruitment area for the Andalusian army. You see lots of Berber, Arabo-Berber, and Maghrebi Arabs drafted into the army and stationed in the colonies. Most of them serve in Africa and Macaronesia as the Wazirate continues the Ayshunid policy of heavily restricting which groups are allowed into their New World possessions. African slaves for example, are barely used in the Riysh (compared to OTL or even European colonies ATL) because of how - rightfully - afraid local leaders are of slave revolts. Berbers are frankly not trusted enough to be stationed in areas deemed as sensitive as the northern frontier. It is a ethnocentric immigration policy meant to insulate vulnerable areas from potential instability. Private bodyguards are functionally exempt from this however, and Berbers, Turks, and a whole host of other nationalities (even European mercenaries) appear in the retinue of colonial aristocrats.

Turks are more common in the New World army than any other group you mentioned, but not as cavalry but as military advisors. Lots of educated Ottomans find employment in the Andalusian army as skilled specialists, whether as military bureaucrats, artillery men or officers.

By this point, native americans have had more than enough time to become very good cavalrymen. Native states in Mesoamerica are fielding entire cavalry corps against each other and that equestrian tradition is only stronger when you reach the nomadic peoples of North America. There is plenty of good horsemen on both sides of a colonial war OTL.


I should add: Historically in the Maghreb, foreign mercenaries were popular because they did not have the tribal loyalties that made local troops unreliable. However, Andalusian society has lost much of its traditional tribal rivalries as society has homogenized towards a more national sense of identity. The larger problem now is regional rivalries etc. Riyshi vs. Iberian (the big one). In this context, using local troops is no longer as serious of a problem, especially when the bulk of fighting is against enemies that are very culturally distinct i.e. Europeans, infidel natives, Africans etc. Still, troops of questionable motive are shuffled around to different regions to minimize risk.
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What's going on with the pueblo? Do Arabs see them as one people or as people living in city states? What do Arabs call them?
The Arabs have explored the pueblo regions in Arizona and New Mexico and traded with local groups. The puebloan peoples (that is: all native groups that live in those tight farming settlements, not just any one group like the Hopi) are dhanha, peaceful farmers vs. supposedly warlike nomads. To distinguish the culturally distinct Pueblo peoples from the Pima groups in the south you will see the term hakhyu , a term that refers to one of the first pueblos Arabs encountered [Acoma Pueblo]. It now refers to all peoples of a similar lifestyle. The hakhyu live in the 'ardu al-husuwn , the 'land of castles' [Central New Mexico, Eastern Arizona]

In the OTL southwest, there have been massive demographic shifts as native societies are moving in and out of the region in response to societal changes, environmental stress and more. Shishimenah are moving up from the south to escape Arab wars, clashing with a influx of horse-riding peoples moving from the north and east. OTL, you might call these groups Apache, and many of them were also Numic speakers (Comanche). This is all happening inside the former territory of farming cultures, of which the Shinadhi are a remainder. Unlike OTL, these nomadic groups are penetrating much farther in greater numbers. You are seeing groups that we might call OTL Paiute, Ute, Shoshone appearing in Arizona, New Mexico, even Mexico proper, in the 15 - 1600s. The rise of the massive confederations in the eastern plains too is also pushing smaller groups south and west.

This has pushed the settled Pueblo peoples of OTL Arizona and New Mexico out of much of their former territory, even the ancestral heartlands in southern Colorado. Southern and central settlements like Acoma pueblo, could be seen as the final bastion of puebloan culture. Now, Arabs prey on many of these hostile tribes, so it is a enemy of my enemy situation between Arabs and puebloans. While some native tribes live in constant fear of brutal Arab attacks, the puebloans are interacting with mixed-race frontier Arabs and sufis in generally peaceful trade interactions. They are getting the best side of the equation. Remember however, that one reason the pueblos were so much on the brink before Arabs began to change the power dynamic in the region was because plague decimated the farming population - plague spread from old world settlements in Mesoamerica and Europeans on the east coast. Though most puebloans in the 1600s will rarely ever see a Arab, their world has already been drastically changed by their presence.
he days when a band of enemy warriors could be dispersed by a simple gunshot were long gone by the 17th century. Centuries of trade well beyond Arab borders had ferried weapons far into the north. Feral animals and even ones sold by unscrupulous merchants made their way all across the Oriolan continent. Whole nations had risen and fallen, societies reorganized, economies built on the power of the horse without a single Arab ever knowing of it.
OOOOOOOOOH. I wonder if we will see some of these native nations and empires soon. :biggrin:
OOOOOOOOOH. I wonder if we will see some of these native nations and empires soon. :biggrin:
Oh man. Oh man, oh man oh man. North American empires are going to operate very differently from anything in the old world. There is a lot of infodumping coming up in the 1700s.

Can we have a map, please?
I am away from my main PC (bidness trips) so no maps for any of these updates. The next timeline update will have maps covering the same three theatres as previous maps (Iberia, S. America, N. America / Caribbean) but with significant visual improvements. The maps are coming.
A House of Lamps | Part 10
A House of Lamps | Part 10

"The whole world is like a house filled with lamps, rays, and lights through whom the things of the house are elucidated…"

Ibn Barrajan, 12th century CE

Een man van het Menorca

A Menorcan man of Arab descent, but in a European coat. By Van Stuyt, 1695.

The Waning of the Islamic West

The Late 17th century was characterized by both the further growth of European colonial empires and the looming realization among Islamic Empires that something needed to be done to reverse this. The Ottomans continued to suffer setbacks in their sprawling eastern European territories as internal rebellions and foreign invasion eroded the considerable gains of the last two centuries. Andalusia, still recovering from internal political crisis struggled to maintain control of its huge maritime empire, even as it was able to continue expansion into the unknown. Both empires had over-extended themselves, while rival powers had the luxury to pick scraps of the edges. It is simplistic to characterize this as an equal ratio, however. That is – as much as Islamic empires declined the Europeans benefited. The largest European colonial power, the Kingdom / Union of Valois could not fully express its ambitions of international empire due to its own internal ethnic tensions. With its capital at Paris, perhaps it was inevitable that this lopsided state would become merely another French empire, but the succession of increasingly Francophile kings greatly accelerated the process. This alienated the kingdoms many non-French subjects who felt – rightly – that their concerns were less meaningful to a distant court in the heart of the langue d'oil.

As Catholic Valois waned, Protestantism leapt at the opportunity. Spurred by an economic recovery on the mainland and growing political stability, German, Dutch, and Scandinavian rulers consolidated their powers. The many divided protestant kingdoms of northern Europe seemed to be circling closer and closer together as the century drew to a close. The medieval world-order was growing dimmer by the year.



The Declaration of Nazur by the Sultan Mufarrij ibn Ubada grants equal rights to mixed-race Arabs. He begins raising regiments composed fully of these hamiho Arabs for defense of the vast colonial borderlands, amid rising tensions with European powers.

The Cachurata (Kashuratiyya) War erupts in the Arab hinterlands of Salinah [American Southwest / far northern Mexico]. This marks the explosion of the Cachuran Confederacy outwards along the Arab border. Composed of several native peoples, it uses mounted horsemen in lightning raids to control a wide expanse of scrubland along the border.

The lord of Tzintzuntzan, Zurunaban, fends off an coup led by his younger brother Hireti. With the decline of the other native states in the area, it remains the largest non-Arab ruled polity in Mishikah [Mexico], even if it pays tribute to Arab colonial overlords.


Peasants in Al-Mansha [La Mancha] riot against tax officials in the area.

Arabs erect a small mosque and outpost at Alaqay [Puerta la Esparanza, Paraguay].

Danish armies defeat an expansionist Poland at the battle of Rostock. This reversal marks the end of the so-called Polish Golden Age and the ascendency of Denmark as the most powerful state in the Baltic region. The subsequent disintegration of Poland into warring rump states, which lasts for the next half century, devastates the region.

Spanish sailors build the fort of San Francisco on the coast of Java [Cilegon, Indonesia]. This region has long been visited by Arab merchants, and even Ottomans, but the decline of Arab sea-power in the Indian Ocean is opening up the region for more intense colonization efforts. Massive pirate fleets around the Spice Islands discourage movement farther east. They begin to trade with the local Hindu kingdom of Banten, which controls much of the island.

Ibn Ubada goes on Hajj, he takes the opportunity to tour the Ottoman empire en route. By lavishing praise on the Ottomans, he secures his friendship with the Ottoman state. He also hopes to secure new trade agreements to protect Andalusian goods from European competition.


Ibn Ubada sends Muhammad Sayf al-Sadr to negotiate a border treaty with Valois in Iberia.

The Al-Jahidi (Islamized Mishikan polity) Lord of Kuyulaban, Talashital, is granted the title Amir al-Bariya. He rises as an important figure over the other Al-Jahidi statelets after his victory at Shalangu [Chalcatongo de Hidalgo].

Abdullah Ibn Jasir al-Fath, the Andalusi admiral notorious for raiding English settlements, scores a major victory by sacking the town of Graysden [Natal, Brazil]. The governor of Virginia, Sir Charles Longstreet responds with a colony-wide mobilization effort. Sailing in a fleet of rafts, several hundred English soldiers ambush the moored Arab ships at night and set them ablaze. Al-Fath is slain in the fighting. The incident rouses national pride in England where Longstreet is hailed as a hero. A popular comic depicts him battling the Arab leader across the yard of a burning Arab ship with the caption: “Longstreete roasts the Muhammaden atop his own fire


The Treaty of Soria settles border disputes between the Wazirate and Valois in central Iberia. The rapacious border-crossings of Portuguese minor lords do not stop however. That this was an original point of the border treaty frustrates Ibn Ubada greatly. However, he is unwilling to risk a direct confrontation with Valois over the situation.

The pirate Raymon Barbet attacks the Dutch colony in Brania [South America]. Believing Raymon to be acting on the orders of James II, the Dutch seized the Valoisian ship Le Superbe in the Atlantic as retaliation.

Riyshi authorities exert their power over Mishika by appointing Riyshi officials to local administrative positions. Because Mishikah is still treated as an extension of the Riyshi colonial system, continental Arabs are viewed as subservient to that system rather than equal partners – as they considered themselves to be. In addition, growing cultural differences between the two regions is instilling separatist feelings in both parties. The governor of Muluk, the informal authority over the entire Riysh, Mustafa al-Mudhuk al-Sufi, places strict tariffs on Mishikan ships as the first part of several restrictive trade policies meant to coerce Mishikan authorities into compliance.


Moroccans petition the sultan for redress against exploitative practices by Andalusian landowners. They find sympathetic ears inside the shura, but not enough to get proper legislation passed.

The Dutch seizure of Le Superbe begins a tit for tat of escalating incidents until James II dispatches an army to take Brussels. This city had been seized by the Dutch during the War of the Dutch and German years earlier but retained a prominent catholic minority. James II hoped to capture the Catholic territories in the Netherlands to curb Dutch power, with especially the port of Antwerp a prominent target. Under Jean de Montfort a French army with substantial German mercenary forces marched from the fortress at Maubeuge into the Low Countries in June.

The Dutch call on their English allies for aid but find that Crown unwilling to aid in a war they see largely to be entirely of the Confederations making. The English are fully engaged in colonial wars with Iberia. Charles II did not want to reignite war with Valois after putting in great effort to heal relations several years earlier. Despite this, he turns a blind eye as the usual host of English mercenaries travels to the Netherlands to fight for Dutch coin.

In July after several inconclusive skirmishes Jean de Montfort is recalled to court and replaced by Charles of Ghent, Count of Flanders. Charles is a middle-aged noble who had actually been born in the Low Countries, and spoke fluently Flemish, Dutch, French (and even Greek). It was believed that his intimate association with the region would enable him to fare better than Montfort, who had significant difficulty defeating Dutch skirmishing attacks. These hopes are confirmed when Charles defeats the main Dutch force at Nivelles. The Dutch flee in disarray to Brussels, where they are soon surrounded by Charles, who divides his armies to sweep the countryside. He is reinforced by Westphalian cavalry who engage in raiding reminiscent of a medieval chevauchee. Charles did hold sympathies for the local people. He tried to curb the excesses of his troops, but when Brussels finally fell in a brief, but violent, siege in October his army ransacked the city. Twelve Dutchmen were lynched and hung from the cities Town Hall after (allegedly) refusing to remove their hats before a German soldier. This incident becomes a rallying cry for Dutch soldiers for years to come.

The Wazirate passes laws further penalizing the sale of certain goods to non-Muslim natives, fearful of the growing arms trade into the hinterlands of the New World. Especially on the northern frontier, the rise of large, organized, and mobile native nations with access to firearms threatens Arab settlements.


The Valoisian war in the Netherlands, or King James War (called Barbets War to avoid confusion with the several other wars of that name) stalls following a Dutch victory in relieving the fortress of Puurs. Without a way to securely encircle Antwerp as he had with other cities, Charles withdraws south for winter. Valois attempts to draw the Holy Roman Empire into the conflict but just as the Dutch were unable to garner English support so too did James II fail in his efforts.

James II favoritism to some of his subjects over others reaches a head when in a land dispute between Gascon and Spanish settlers in the Castillineans [Carolinas] he appoints the entirely foreign governor of Chesepiac [from Chesapeake, modern coastal Virginia, North Carolina] Roger Caron to adjudicate the dispute. In theory this made sense – Chesepiac colony contained the disputed lands, but in name only. The dispute was over farms deep in the interior where Caron represented coastal, largely francophone population. The rural Iberian frontiersmen felt their voices were not heard. When Caron ruled in favor of the Gascon side, the Spanish took the lands anyways. Brutal punishments on the Spanish families in the area lead many to flee farther into the lawless frontier.


Ibn Ubada comes down with a serious illness and loses the use of his legs. It is viewed by his enemies in Iberia as a sign of Gods disfavor in his rule. Criticism led by the Iman Ibrahim ibn Muhammad becomes the first serious challenge to his rule after Ubadas initial rise to power. Ibn Ubada responds by showing airs of great piety, exchanging his usual lavish robes for plain cloth and consulting with clerics in the shura. Sympathetic Imans portray his disability as a challenge by God rather than a condemnation, making reference often to Surat An-Nur 24:61:

“There is not upon the blind any guilt or upon the lame any guilt or upon the ill any guilt [for remaining behind]. And whoever obeys God and His Messenger - He will admit him to gardens beneath which rivers flow; but whoever turns away - He will punish him with a painful punishment.”

Ubada concedes to orthodox demands on certain issues, including the restriction of Jews and Christians, construction of more mosques in the colonies, and the cracking down on prostitution in major cities.

Charles of Ghent is attacked by a Dutch army at the battle of Wesenbeek. In a daring maneuver the Dutch commander William de Dunne moves 20,000 men east of Brussels and caught Charles entirely off-guard. It is debated how William managed to march such a force without resistance. What is generally believed is that an extensive network of double agents fed the Valoisians false intelligence as to the location of the Dutch army. While Charles was fortified at Grandmont farther west, he received word the Dutch were building fortifications inside the border established by the last years campaign. He carried out a quick march and fought William at the battle of Wesenbeek. It was a catastrophic defeat for the Valoisians. Charles was taken captive while his army, near twice the size of Williams, was routed. The defeat was so harrowing that King James II was said to have wept, allegedly saying amissa est, in Latin: “it is lost.” The Dutch could not capitalize on the victory due to their own losses and have to retreat north without capturing meaningful territory.

Venetian warships capture the port of Sabtan [Ceuta] after the authorities in Morocco threatened to expel foreign ships. This came at the head of a long diplomatic crisis that neither side was interested in peacefully resolving. With three ships a contingent of marines stormed the city at night and captured the city center. The daring operation was reinforced by a larger fleet soon after. Andalusian authorities agreed to preserve the ports status as a free city in exchange for the withdrawal of the enemy fleet. This shows in a new, visceral, way the bravado that European admirals are developing as Andalusian sea power wanes.


William de Dunne recaptures the conquered territory in the south, as Brussels and other cities capitulate without a fight. He marches into Flanders against the orders of the Zuidhoff, the leading council of the Confederation. William wins several other battles against increasingly hastily assembled forces, first at Bouchain, then at Montagne Road, and then at Cambrai. However, the more he fights the more his own small army needs to be supplemented with ill-trained reinforcements or mercenaries. He runs the risk of the same poor discipline that poisoned Charles of Ghents force.

A slave revolt in the Castillineans succeeds in wresting several dozen miles of coastal territory from the crown. Led by ‘Malond’ as the slaves leader is called, plantations are destroyed and the owners killed. Local authorities suppress the revolt, but it is the last straw for Castillinean slave-owners. They demand representative leadership instead of governments sent and appointed by the royal court. This is not representation in the democratic sense. Despite being overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking, the Castillineans are governed by French and even Italian administrators appointed by the court and sent from Europe. The goal of the petitioners was simply to replace those administrators, with local, Spanish ones. King James II grants this request under advisement from his uncle the Duke of Normandy, who perhaps recognizes more than most the growing ethnic tension between the kings subjects. Caron for one, is replaced by the Spanish plantation owner Don Carlos de la Herrada. The French administrative class naturally is upset by this, and instead of calming tensions this only continues to inflame them.

The Ottomans invade the Adriatic but are defeated at the Battle of Pomena by a Venetian fleet. The rise of Venice to conquer a sprawling territory on both sides of the Adriatic came with it an even more formidable navy, one that was playing a decisive role in reversing Ottoman naval power.

A bomb underneath the grand Majlis chambers in Seville detonates, completely blowing out the foundations under one of its towers. This then collapsed on the main chambers, killing several dozen lawmakers, along with some guards and servants. Notable casualties include the amir of the Algarve Abu Muhammad al-Qala and the respected Riyshi politician Bashar bin Yaqub. An extensive investigation turns up a group of Riyshi separatists who are subsequently executed. Authorities soon persecute many leading Riyshis, jailing many others.

Spanish sailors establish further colonies in the far east, building forts in southern China with permission from the Shun Emperor. The Shun dynasty was a rump state of the former Ming, that controlled the valuable south Chinese coast. It had successfully fought off several Qing attempts to conquer it. Seeing a chance to turn the tide, the Heping Emperor contracts Spanish privateers to attack Qing vessels along the coast. In return, he allows silver trade with Valois in addition to existing Muslim enclaves already operating in the region.

Aragonese fortunes stabilize under the new Catholic regime of Queen Catherine (Catarina) of Girona. She crushes the last vestiges of the protestant faction in the court, deporting many thousands of protestant normanos, moors, and other ‘dissidents’ to the rural hinterlands in northern Aragon, formerly Navarre. Unsurprisingly these flee across the border to Valoisian Spain. The narrow, ill patrolled, and rugged terrain of the region begins to crawl with refugees, soon bandits. This adds to the ills compounding in Valoisian Spain.


William de Dunnes force splits in two after a vicious disagreement between him and his senior commander (and lifelong friend) Wim Pier Duivenkaate. While Duivenkaate counseled against over-extending the army so deep in enemy territory, de Dunne adamantly wished to march on Paris itself. The argument ended with Duivenkaate taking two-thirds of the army with him back to the Low Countries, where they ran into the vanguard of a Valoisian force hastily called up from the Italian border. Duivenkaate escaped, but lost many men in the attack. Later that month, the Zuidhoff signs the Treaty of Charleroi with King James II, which ceded Flanders to the Confederation, along with the empires possessions in Brania (except for the fort at San Cristobal del Mar near the Mar Dulce). This is all conducted while de Dunne was still encamped deep within France, who discovered the news after the treaty was signed. Upon hearing soon after that a party had been sent to arrest him from the Confederation, de Dunne flees to England.

Moroccan intellectuals call for a general uprising against the Wazirate. Rebel forces throw out Arab officials from the Rif region in northern Morocco, but expected supported from supposed wealthy backers does not materialize, and the rebels are forced to flee to the hills. They continue to fight a guerilla war for another decade.

An economic boom in Brania encourages rapid settlement of the region. English ships begin to trade amicably with the local Arabs rather than the vicious sea-fighting of previous years. It has been suggested that a growing number of native raids forced the two groups to ally against a common foe – but given that both used native allies against the other that is unlikely. It is more plausible that simply, they are weary of fighting.


The Tar [Peru approx.] begins to cool down after intensive suppression of local rebels. Several hundred Mishikan families are sent to the region as part of colonial efforts. Local authorities develop silver mines in the hills.

The Dutch Confederacy allies with Denmark. Along with England and Norway they form the Quadripartite Alliance, or: King Christians Bond (after King Christian IV of Norway and Christian V of Denmark). Sweden, smarting from an economic downturn and military setbacks, remains a bitter rival of the Danes.

The short-lived Kingdom of Karelia bursts into existence after a Swedish-backed rebellion defeats a Russian army at the Battle of the Thousand Lakes. In the subsequent campaign, the Russians are driven out of the region. The Kingdom exists until it is formally absorbed into Sweden several decades later.


The Spanish defeat an Arab-Malay fleet to uproot them from the East Orioles [Indonesia] off the coast of Java. A second fleet however, succeeds in destroying the resupply force intended for the Spanish garrison. The Spanish spend the next three years under blockade before events elsewhere in the archipelago force the opposing navy to withdraw.


The Cachurata Wars continue to rage in the northern desert frontier, with reprisals on both sides. Native fighters targeted mixed-race, and Islamized natives for especially brutal treatment, while Arabs committed multiple massacres against native civilians. Worsening conditions along the frontier lead many to move to the more peaceful Yikaqi coast [Western Gulf coast].

Europeans, Arabs, Natives, and African slaves mingle freely at the growing port cities in Al-Yikaq [Western Gulf coast].


Arab and Portuguese ships fight in Africa and the Indian Ocean over control of trade routes. The Arab Amir al-Bahr in the region Abdul Rahman al-Basa is killed in a skirmish with European forces. The multinational Acra Company, from the port its ships often resupplied at [Accra, Ghana] establishes trading posts along the southern coast of Africa and as far as India and Indonesia. In an effort to control European infringement on Arab shipping lanes, Ibn Ubada begins granting tasamah to non-muslim vessels: written agreements for European ships to use Arab ports in Africa in exchange for a portion of all revenues. To enforce this policy the Cinarian fleet [Canary Islands] is doubled, at considerable expense, to watch the African coast.

Ibn Ubada sends an expeditionary force to support the Adal Sultanate in its war against the Christian Ethiopian state inland. With this aid, the coastal Muslims successfully sack the Christian heartland, reversing decades of hard-fought gains by the Christian rulers. The reigning emperor Asres II is captured and ransomed. This expedition is an intentional gesture by Ibn Ubada to demonstrate the capabilities of his military to rival powers. Despite what one might think, the gesture was targeted as much to the Ottomans as to the Europeans. Overtures of friendship do not change the fact that the Ottomans are a major competitor for trade control in the Indian Ocean – Arab troops carrying out operations so close to Ottoman-held Arabia is a clear message to the Sublime Porte of the far-stretching power of the Andalusi state.


French explorers explore the complex seaways of Découverte Bay [Hudson Bay]. They trade fur with natives in the interior.

Danish settlers establish a minor colony near Dutch Barnooga [Brazilian coast]. The humidity, disease, and heat ravage the settlers within a year, many who move up to live near Dutch settlements instead of the remote settlement of St. Anders (their original landing point).

King James II cracks down on informal colonial courts that had sprung up to adjudicate the many disputes between the multiethnic European colonies along the Oriolan [North American] coast. Since they existed without royal permission, he treats them as an affront to his rule. Unresolved cases are passed to formal courts in the larger coastal cities where they quickly create a backlog.

England dispatches an expedition to secure whaling rights in the north Atlantic, fighting the short-lived Whalers War. It ends in an inconclusive stalemate.


King James of Valois dies similar to his father, of syphilis. He is succeeded by his eldest James as James II. James II continues his father’s Francophilia to the dismay of his Spanish nobles.


The Cachuran nation is wiped out at the Battle (Massacre) of Wadi Jaya. Over 2000 tribal warriors are killed, and a large civilian population enslaved or executed. In the aftermath Arab settlers move farther north into the interior. Arab slave raids probe deep into the wilderness, as do Christian missionaries as part of a vast covert network funded, in part, by King James II.


Soldiers of the Basa Sultanate on the west African coast [southwestern Nigeria] defeat their rivals in battle after battle, expanding the kingdom to cover a long strip of valuable coastline. The Basa Sultan Iginuwa drives European merchants from cities under his control with Arab aid. A Venetian fleet prevents Porono [near Lagos, Nigeria] from falling. The city becomes the sole point of European contact for that part of the African coast.


Ibn Ubada succumbs to his many ailments. He had attempted to pass his rulership to his eldest son, Umar, but the shura intervened to elected the statesman Khaled Abdullah Al-Khuraq as Sultan. Al-Khuraq is of Riyshi descent (on his mothers side), and speaks with a distinctively colonial accent. Al-Khuraq gives Umar a prestigious ministerial position. Surprisingly, Umar accepts this demotion with remarkable grace, likely out of fear for his life should he act out. As much as Ibn Ubada enjoyed strong support, his son lacks the same magnetism.


In a traditional show of force for Andalusian rulers, Al-Khuraq moves to secure his force by jailing or executing suspected political rivals. This includes former allies of Ibn Ubada, but not the Sultans family itself out of fear of public backlash.

Romanian rebels defeat the Ottoman Empire at Cheia. This remarkable upset combined with Ottoman setbacks in the Adriatic, Persia, and factionalism at court, bring Ottoman expansion to a grinding halt. In particular, the victory of the charismatic Romanian general Daniel Viteazu inspires copycat rebellions all across Ottoman territory in Eastern Europe.

Labor reforms in the Riysh improve living conditions for debt-workers (‘ayedi).

Discouraged by a poor economy at home, many English travel to the colonies.


Extensive campaigning to pacify territories in Eastern Europe exhausts Ottoman military resources. The betrayal and brutal execution of Romanian independence fighters makes them martyrs, and one of them – Sorin the Gentle, is canonized as a Catholic saint. It is said that as the Ottoman executioners made him eat his own severed hands, he said nothing but that they “needed some salt”.

James II is assassinated by disgruntled nobles. His death ignites a conflict in the Valoisian court, with multiple parties putting forward claimants to the throne. One faction unites behind the infante Jean while three other groups press forward adult princes for the throne. Protestant nobles from northeastern Spain back one of their own in Hernando de Cotes. They enjoy significantly more independent military backing then the other factions. After a dramatic showdown at court in summer, they withdraw to Bilbao and crown De Cotes King of Spain. They have strong support in Navarrese regions and Gascony. Gascon nobles were promised support for their own separatist movement, which had been suppressed by the centralization efforts of previous monarchs. Because the Normano leadership had no interest in controlling Gascony, they had no qualms about fomenting independence movements in the area. The immediate goal was to ‘reconquer’ the perceived heartland of northern Spain, which included northern Aragon and the Sultanate, along with Galicia, Cantabria, and Portugal. Spanish commanders called up a large volunteer army along with their own private forces with plans to march on the regional capital of Burgos.

Catholic leaders in Cantabria are similarly dissatisfied with Valois, but also oppose a Protestant monarch, for obvious reasons. They declare King James II the rightful king of Spain, hoping the crown will alleviate their claims if the protestant rebels are defeated. Under the Italian captain Gianfrancesco Fiamolin and the aged general Antonio Escobar de la Vega Catholic forces are massed around Burgos to protect the city.


An English fleet sails in support of the Protestant rebellion. They land outside Porto on the western coast. With an English army in the west, and a rebel army in the northeast, the hope is to divide the Catholic forces along a undefendable front. The Valoisian Regent Louis of Oisans is busy fighting off factions in Paris still vying for the throne and tells Escobar de la Vega in no uncertain terms to hold the Spanish possessions without royal aid. Escobar de la Vega instead turns to a new source for extra manpower: the Portuguese border lords, or Atacantes. These men were entrusted with protecting rugged terrain from Muslim attacks for centuries. In recent years they have become infamous as roving, almost piratical figures (and to local Christian peasants, folk heroes). Atacante groups attack English supply trains all throughout the year. The English bombard cities from the sea to support their army as they move up and down the coast. It is a coordinated campaign to strangle the local economy so much the Catholics would be forced to respond.

Escobar de la Vega chooses to cluster his forces around major cities central to Valoisian rule rather than protect the countryside. The rebel army met the Catholics at the battle of San Zadornil. It was a prolonged standoff due to both sides not wanting to commit out of fear of casualties. Several days of minor skirmishes ended when the Protestant general Eud de Queden withdrew to the east. The year ends with a stalemate while the English continue to cut away at the Catholic economic base.


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In this update: N E W M A P S. Still trying out this new style - keep in mind some places are known OTL by multiple names. For example, Cabacan vs. Khabaqiyah.
Dammit i thought about that image except for the fact it made me laugh i remembered the gun powder plot but thought it wouldn't cause much change. Also nice gunpowder plot.

When did andalusia take the Balearics?. They really should take valencia and its region make the border much nicer in the east.

Is the monarchy now elective, goddammit that often produces bad kings, and we will most likely not get some enlighten absolutism.
Dammit i thought about that image except for the fact it made me laugh i remembered the gun powder plot but thought it wouldn't cause much change. Also nice gunpowder plot.

When did andalusia take the Balearics?. They really should take valencia and its region make the border much nicer in the east.

Is the monarchy now elective, goddammit that often produces bad kings, and we will most likely not get some enlighten absolutism.
Aragon sold the islands to Andalusia to help bankroll one in a long series of corrupt governments. The pocket of territory south of Valencia was given to Valois for similar reasons. For lack of funding, Aragonese leaders have been carving up their own empire and pawning it to other powers. Aragonese fortunes are beginning to stabilize, but Aragon has been in a dire, dire, place for a while. It only still exists because each country neighboring it views it as a useful buffer state.

One important part of the Wazirate is that it is a elective government. Every form of government will produce bad kings - and Ibn Ubada is following in a long and hallowed tradition of great leaders with mediocre children. The question is whether the singular power Ibn Ubada was able to command was a aberration or sign of a new trend...
Wait andalusian military is really far behind, if they don't even have a proper uniform yet, britain already has red franve white by this period of history.

@dontfearme22 I also just realised the years we are in did england not have the civil war, Cromwell, glorius revolution etc, thats really important.

Does the HRE still exist?


So why is the Andalusian navy lagging behind? Is it a victim of its own success that's not realizing other powers are catching up?
Wait andalusian military is really far behind, if they don't even have a proper uniform yet, britain already has red franve white by this period of history.

@dontfearme22 I also just realised the years we are in did england not have the civil war, Cromwell, glorius revolution etc, thats really important.

Does the HRE still exist?
I will answer the England questions in a dedicated seperate post cause thats a lot of big questions and I like to hear myself talk. HRE still exists.

On uniforms, the Andalusian army is somewhat standardized but it is not strictly enforced. Frankly, its not a priority. They are not fighting anybody who looks similar to them so its rare they could be confused with enemy soldiers - except for auxiliaries. You have stuff like red, white, headbands and armbands but its not a firm regulation. Also - the post with details on uniforms was about frontier soldiers who are at the absolute fringe of the army. They should not be taken as a example of standard practice (wearing a nice pretty bright outfit doesn't do well in frontier fighting anyways, ask the British).

So why is the Andalusian navy lagging behind? Is it a victim of its own success that's not realizing other powers are catching up?
Yes. They have a lot of light, fast, ships but the Europeans are putting out ships that can increasingly match them for speed and out-shoot them. Efforts to recruit Turkish military advisors, expand naval presence at strategic points, are all efforts to keep the Andalusian advantage over their Christian rivals. Right now - late 1600s - they can still match their enemies ship for ship, and then out-number them besides that...but those days are numbered, and the Andalusians are trying really hard to extend the clock.