Darganfod Tir Saint Brendan: The Voyage of Madoc Successful

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by EparkosTonTrapezous, Aug 8, 2019.

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  1. EparkosTonTrapezous Grand Prince of the Tybee Sandbar

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    Chapter One: Across the Great Sea

    Owain ap Gruffydd was arguably the greatest Welsh ruler before Llywelyn Fawr. He ruled the comparatively small Princedom of Gwynedd, but he used it as a power base to wage a decades-long defensive war against the English under Henri II.

    But it's not him we're going to talk about.

    Owain's son Hywel ap Owain was one of the greatest Welsh poets of all time. His rhymes were said to have brought even the hardest men to tears.

    But it's not him we're going to talk about. Instead, we're going to talk about Madoc, Owain's whack-job son.

    Madoc was, by all contemporary and modern standards, insane. He was given to talking into the air, throwing himself into nearby objects at random and spending days reading alone, in silence, in the dark. He was a bastard, which meant that this combination of insanity and illegitimacy would normally have made him a political non-entity.

    But when Owain died in 1170, he was regarded as a natural son (read bastard) of the late king, and as such was extremely dangerous. And so as his four eldest brothers did their damnedest to kill each other, Hywel was willing to do almost anything to get any potential claimant out of Gwynedd. And so, when in early May Madoc approached him and asked for a ship to attempt to retrace Saint Brendan's voyage to the blessed isles, he agreed. And so, on 17 May 1170, a small cog, the Artur, crewed by twenty-one plus Madoc put out to sea from Llandrilogh in Rhos.

    Madoc sailed south along the European coast, believing that the quickest way to the Blessed Isles would be to circle around the bottom of the Earth. Sometime in early July he passed the Canary Islands and continued south. However, at Cape Bojador he encountered violent seas and was forced to turn north. From there he sailed into the Canary Islands and father, seeking a way around the storms of the Cape. However, the winds were at his back and he decided to continue on into the west. On 11 August 1170, a lookout on the Artur spotted a small patch of green on the horizon.

    The ship slowly drifted towards the coast as the wind fell out of its sails. It seemed as if they were going to land on a beach, but the wind picked up again and blew the Artur into a bay between two islands before it fell away again. Madoc grew impatient and jumped off the front of the stricken ship, splashing ashore onto a small patch of rocks. The wind picked up and the ship blew back towards the south-east, running aground in a flat, sandy cove. A boat was sent to pick up Madoc, and he and his crew spent the night on the beach. Over the next few days they penetrated the interior, finding it deserted. However, they did find a mound of consumed oyster shells, leading them to hack down a stand of trees behind the dunes and build a stockade amongst the dune grass. They subsided off of the plentiful oysters and seabirds for months, until the barley they had planted inland allowed them to make bread. In April 1171, after finding the winter much more temperate than back in Gwynedd, Madoc and a dozen of his men returned to the ship and set sail for home to seek more settlers, leaving six behind in the stockade, now named Tir Brindena.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter Two: Madoc in Gwynedd

    EparkosTonTrapezous Grand Prince of the Tybee Sandbar

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    Chapter Two: Madoc in Gwynedd

    Madoc docked in Llandrilogh in July 1171. He was met on the docks by Rhodri’s men, who promptly arrested him, threw him and his crew into the dungeon and impounded the Artur. It joined a fleet of Rhodrist ships that were carrying an invasion fleet into Leinster to attack the forces of Maelgwn, who had joined forces with Richard ‘Strongbow’ de Clare, in Loch Garman. Rhodri lands in April 1172, with Maelgwn and de Clare attempting to surround his landing point, but Conchobar Maenmaige Ua Conchobar, the son of the High King, appears with an army behind the allied lines and smashes them, resulting in the annihilation of the Cambro-Norman force and the summary execution of the Normans and the transport of the Welsh back to Gwynedd after the beheading of Maelgwn.

    Rhodri, faced with the prospect of leaving seven hundred former rebels across Gwynedd or killing all of them and dealing with the political fallout amongst the cantrefs, hauls Madoc and his crew out of their cells in July 1172 and supplies them with a fleet of a dozen ships and the food and equipment to provide for the former rebels, then tells them to leave and never return.
     
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter Three: Tir Brindona in Madoc's Absence

    EparkosTonTrapezous Grand Prince of the Tybee Sandbar

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    Chapter Three: Tir Brindona in Madoc’s absence


    In June 1171, one of the colonists on Tir Brindena was walking along the beach collecting oysters when he happens to glance up and see a thin trail of smoke rising from farther south along the coast. He rushes back to the settlement and warns the others, and as two of the colonizers prepare for a forest fire the other four take the boat that the Artur had left behind and sail down the coast, searching for any spots to create a fire break. However, instead of flames they find a small group of men with red-brown skins. The Brindonians turn and flee back north, severely outnumbered. When they land at the settlement they quickly gather their tools and supplies from the surrounding land and barricade themselves inside.

    By the next week, the smoke had come within a few miles of the settlement. On 3 July, 1171, the scouts arrive outside the walls. They were confused by the strange, pale men who had built this strange building on their land. Well, ‘their land’ wasn’t really an accurate term.

    They were members of the Kiwale (Kee-wal-ay) nation, which lived far down the coast from Brindena. This particular tribe, the Taipi (Tay-pee), spent most of its year near the mouth of the Many-Island River and only came north when the Tsastoya (Zas-toi-ya) tribe crossed over the Brown River onto the Taipi’s side to raid their salt mines, a few miles down the coast from Tir Brindona. And so, when they found the Brindonians, they assumed that they were allies of the Tsastoya and attacked.

    It went about as well as a group of men with Stone-Age level tools assaulting a group of mailed longbowmen in a defensive position. The Taipi fell back after less than five minutes to a nearby ridge about fifteen hundred feet away, and then dissolved and fled in panic after one of the men took an arrow through the neck (lucky shot).

    Two days later, the Taipi again approach, this time under the flag of truce. Even though neither side can understand each other, through a crude pantomime the Brindonians are asked if the Taipi can recover the bodies of their dead. The Brindonians agree and the Taipi spend the next day dragging the bodies of their dead away from the fort. One of the Brindonians, Sawyl ap Tegid, helps and develops a primitive knowledge of Kiwale. He overhears “Something something burial something salt pits something this way something that way.” The Taipi depart

    And so the next day Sawyl and one of the other Brindonians walk south along the beach. At around noon they find that the beach curves back around north into marsh grasses. They walk inland and continue following the coast, eventually finding a large gap in the tree line with a scraped trail leading towards the marsh. They follow the trail into the trees and find an open pit with white rock walls. Salt. They return to the settlement and sail down the coast and into the marsh the next day, load as many salt blocks as they can onto the boat and begin the short voyage back to the settlement, but as they are rounding the southern headland they come under fire from the Taipi, and are forced to dump the salt into the water to escape.

    A messenger arrives outside the settlement the next day from the Taipi chief, Açaoh. Açaoh offers the Brindonians a third of the salt from their mine if they agree to defend the mines from the Tsastoya. Sawyl translates as best he could for Madoc’s second-in-command, Rhys. Rhys understands it as “You can take salt if you defend it from other people.” He agrees.

    The rest of 1171 passes peacefully, with the Brindonians exploring up the nearby rivers. However, in March 1172 one of the expeditions up the Afon Llwyd encounters a massive camp on the north bank of the river. The Brindonians return to the settlement and begin hauling as much salt as they could into the settlement as per their agreement with the Taipi. The Tsastoya cross the river and onto Tir Brindona about a week later and assume that the Brindonians are the allies of the Taipi and assault the settlement, which goes about as well as it did for the Taipi. The Tsastoya leave a sizeable force to watch the Brindonians while they begin mining salt.

    Farther south, the Taipi begin moving back north after they learn about the Tsastoya. As Madoc and the new settlers sail past the Azores, their first conflict in the New World is about to begin.
     
  4. Albert Blake Gott Mit Uns

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    Interesting, would this lead to England colonising as well?
     
  5. EparkosTonTrapezous Grand Prince of the Tybee Sandbar

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    The English don't really start colonizing until the 1400s. Before then, trans-Atlantic travel is the domain of the Gael, Cymraeg and Eskaldunuk. (Irish, Welsh and Basque).
     
  6. Albert Blake Gott Mit Uns

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    Cool! Where exactly did Madoc first land?
     
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  7. EparkosTonTrapezous Grand Prince of the Tybee Sandbar

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    I'm keeping that sem-secret becuase figuring out where the explorers have landed is always my favorite part of exploration & colonialism TLs. But here's the map that I'm using:
    Tir Brendona and known land - 1171.png
    If you spend enough time scanning the East Coast of the United States on Google Maps, you should be able to find it.

    P.S. Looking up other spellings of Açaoh (Uh-sow) on Wikipedia with give you a good lead.
     
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  8. Albert Blake Gott Mit Uns

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    I think I have an idea. Unique place too, most Welsh colonial AH timelines (I.E Empty America’s World) tend to not be there.
     
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  9. EparkosTonTrapezous Grand Prince of the Tybee Sandbar

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    Thanks. I was there last summer, and at one point I took a walk on the north headland. I looked around at the big, sheltering trees, the small creek behind me, the deep water channel running along the northern coast, the fairly fertile land and the beaches coated with oyster shells and I thought "Huh. This would be a great place to settle." When I got back home I looked up the North Atlantic Gyre and saw that if a ship were to try to round Bojador and get caught by the currents and winds then it would be a possible landing point.
     
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  10. P L Richards Well-Known Member

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    Looks interesting! It was about time someone did a timeline based on Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd actually existing and crossing the Atlantic.
     
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  11. Albert Blake Gott Mit Uns

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    I checked it out as well using Google Earth to zoom in, very nice place. Will Madoc declare himself King or something? I’m a fan of assassinations when it comes to tyrants.
     
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  12. EparkosTonTrapezous Grand Prince of the Tybee Sandbar

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    No. Madoc just wants a place where he can live in peace away from the chaos in Gwynedd. His lieutenant Rhys is the one really running the show. And I don't think it's spoiling too much to say that Madoc dies of malaria in 1176. Rhys ap Cadwallon ap Gruffydd is Madoc's first cousin, and as such proclaims himself King of Brindonia after Madoc's death.
     
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  13. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    new jersey?
     
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  14. EparkosTonTrapezous Grand Prince of the Tybee Sandbar

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    Farther down the coast.
     
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  15. Albert Blake Gott Mit Uns

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    Either that or Delaware. Edit: Ha! Knew it.
     
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  16. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    Yeah the only other peninsula like that in Atlantic USA...as that is not florida.
     
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  17. Albert Blake Gott Mit Uns

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    Welsh Detroit here we come. Debauchery plus Rugby. And sheep...
     
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  18. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    rugby is the inferior footballl...both football in both side the pound
     
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  19. EparkosTonTrapezous Grand Prince of the Tybee Sandbar

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    Clarification on scale:

    A) The Afon Sawyl is narrow enough that I have personally swum it twice.
    B) You can walk from Tir Brindona to the Afon Sawyl in about an hour.

    It's not Delaware or New Jersey.
     
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  20. Albert Blake Gott Mit Uns

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    Well shit. Good job on misleading us.
     
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