La Serenissima: Venice, Dawn of a New Power 2.0

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Franciscus Caesar, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Part 27, Trouble in Spain

    Late February:
    On its way south, a contingent breaks off the Portuguese war Armada to address reports of Barbary Pirates currently raiding the town of Faro. The rest of the force will rendezvous with the Portuguese fort at Anfa in North Africa for any news from the Indian Ocean. The two will regroup at Anfa and continue their mission to India.

    Both detachments are met with surprise at both their intended stops. At Faro, the smaller brigade is met with a small force of Barbary ships that extracts a toll on the Portuguese before finally retreating. At Anfa, the rest of the Portuguese find a fresh force of Turkish soldiers sent by the Ottoman Sultan and headed by Beylerbey Hayreddin Barbarossa, formerly Khizr Reis. Given a large force of feared janissaries, mighty canons, and many galleys by the Sultan thanks to the death of his feared brother Aruj, the equally ferocious Hayreddin lays siege to the fort at Anfa. As the engagement between the two sides draws to an end, Barbarossa is the clear victor, sinking two Portuguese ships and capturing nine others.

    Mid April: Unrest in Spain over a myriad of different issues has finally reached a tipping point. The foremost these grievances being the increase in taxes required to cover the luxurious bribes Charles made to the German Electors for his position as Emperor. The situation erupts when a radical city councilor is summoned away from Toledo by the royal government, resulting in the locals rioting against the departure and driving out the royal administrators instead. A citizen’s committee is elected under local leadership as a Comunidad. Similar incidents begin occurring in multiple other Spanish cities, spreading like wildfire with the intent to dethrone the Flemish born Charles and replace him with his mother, Queen Joanna, or his Castilian born brother, Ferdinand.

    May: Venetian merchants from Massaua enter the court of Lebna Dengel. They keep the meeting highly formal, addressing him as Emperor Anbasa Segad, which he was enthroned as. Here the merchants negotiate an initial trade agreement with Ethiopian officials for the procurement of the café been. The Ethiopian officials seem to be quite willing partners, excited to be playing the same commercial game as the two European nations that have landed on their shores. The shrewd Emperor Segad looks at this deal from the vantage point of gaining a political bargaining tool with the Venetians, for their aid in any future war Ethiopia may engage in against the rival Adals.

    Late May: Another wave of Portuguese naus leaves the port of Lisbon. This force, much larger than the defeated first group, departs expecting fierce Barbary resistance and is ready to repel such an onslaught when encountered. Despite the fall of Anfa to Barbarossa, the convoy’s mission is to head straight for the vitally important India.

    The effects in Portugal felt from Venice’s nearly yearlong and counting assault on its oceanic trade have been harsher to its economy than the effects felt in Venice from the Portuguese intrusion. When Portugal encroached on Venice’s trade, the trade route was not totally severed, allowing for Venice to operate to some extent though with vastly reduced margins. The Portuguese are currently experiencing a complete breach in their eastern trade system, leading quickly to economic hardship as revenues in the last year have plummeted.

    June 7: King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France meet near Calais to increase the bond of friendship between the two kings following the peace made between them in 1514. The meeting is one of utter extravagance; one official in attendance states that the meeting is “on a scale of such lavish opulence that even the Venetians would find it difficult to contend.” Each king attempts to outdo the other with dazzling tents, huge feasts, music, and jousting matches.

    In reality, the affair is purely political, set up by the English Cardinal Thomas Wolsey to display English wealth and power to the rest of Europe. Also, it allows for Wolsey to decide on which nation, France or Spain, to hold as an ally that suits future English policy. In fact, England will host Spain in a similar manner in Calais in just two weeks.

    June 10: The Comuneros blockade the economically booming city of Segovia in Spain, a blow to the royal government’s coffers.

    Citing a maliciously wonderful opportunity to decry the enemy thanks to rebel advances in the country, Venetian ambassadors in Spain begin to tap into the republic’s mysterious espionage network…

    June 15: Pope Leo X issues EXSURGE DOMINE (Arise O Lord), a bull threatening the heretic Martin Luther with excommunication if he resists the church further in not recanting his position on indulgences and other Catholic doctrines.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
  2. Herzen's love-child rootless cosmopolitan

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    Barbarossa Bey! Venetian espionage! Portugal purse in peril! :)
    Hard to discern what you have in mind with the Spanish rebellion, or who it will ultimately benefit. The twists and turns of this TL are really quite compelling!
     
  3. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    Well, Spain's going downhill, Portugal's getting a battering and we might actually see some long term effects from the Field of Cloth of Gold.

    Anglo-French alliance against the Empire? Joining with rebels in Spain to divide the Habsburg inheritance? And if they can get the Pope out from under Charles' thumb you might just have butterflied the English reformation.
     
  4. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Thanks! The Spanish angle may not be so forthcoming to be resolved actually. I thought it'd be amusing to hear the conspiracy theories everyone would throw around on the issue

    Anything is possible. I'm excited for everyone to see what the next 2 years ITTL hold.

    Also: Happy Thanksgiving to all the American readers, Happy Hanukkah to all the Jewish readers, and Happy Thanksgivukkuh to those celebrating both!

    To my fellow non-Jewish Canadian... Happy Thursday.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  5. Grouchio Well-Known Member

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    Any purely TTL characters yet? I'd think that several events already ITTL may have significant birth butterflies by now...
     
  6. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Marco Maranazzo is a sole creation of this TL. In essence, much of the situation at current is thanks to his presence. Maranazzo was the one that initially stressed the importance of naval expansion of the Venetian fleet in order to face off against the French. While it was ultimately not needed in that instance, the enlarged fleet is what allowed Venice to fair far better than OTL in the Otto-Venetian war of 1499.

    The more aggressive nature that good showing brought in the republic's officials helped push towards the aggressive decision to wrestle the Venetian spice trade back from the hands of the Portuguese. IOTL the Venetians only proposed the idea of a canal through Egypt (which was finally declined because the costs), ITTL this more confident Venice decided to take the plunge.

    Also in order to match the more militaristic direction which the navy was headed, the Cof10 and Doge Loredan thought it best to mimic French and Florentine national armies, an advancement that had many uniquely TTL developments (capturing much of Sudtirol and Istria).

    Essentially, the presence of Marco Maranazzo was the "major" PoD of the TL.

    Some characters considered TTL deviations could be GianPaolo Baglioni (who was not beheaded in 1520, and instead is leading a military career in Venice which we will see more of), and the 'dark' Leonardo da Vinci (whose ideals were warped by his grandiose expectations of personal wealth in the republic).

    As the next decade starts to play out, TTL specific characters born of butterflies will surface.
     
  7. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

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    I have nothing to say for the update except HELL YEAH BARBAROSSA!!! :D
     
  8. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    I knew you'd get a kick out of it :p There'll be a lot more Barbarossa to come.
     
  9. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    Part 28, In the Orient’s Reach

    August:
    The second Portuguese flotilla arrives at the Cape, having witnessed virtually no Barbary attacks. Fresh and ready for action, it makes the treacherous dip around the southernmost tip of Africa and heads straight for India. With every Portuguese outpost it passes it leaves word of its current condition, to be sent immediately to Manuel.

    In Massaua, a joint Otto-Venetian fleet sets off to wreak havoc on Portuguese holdings in Southeast Asia. The presence of the Ottomans in this trip is crucial, as their navigation techniques heavily relying on Islamic astronomy will be critical in the voyage of the region.

    September 22: Selim, King of the Two Lands, Khagan of the Two Seas, Conqueror of the Two Armies, and Servant of the Two Holy Shrines, is allowed to look upon the beautiful face of Allah in heaven. The Sultan’s death leaves the position of ruler of the Ottomans to his son, Suleiman. The Venetian Bailo in Istanbul is the first non-Ottoman to extend his condolences to the family, as well as pay respectfully pay homage to the new Sultan.

    Early October: The second Portuguese Armada finally matches up with a smaller Venetian carrack force. The ensuing battle proves that the Venetians have indeed been acquiring skill from their many encounters with the Portuguese in the ocean, as they are far more adept at handling their ships now than at the opening of the conflict. Nonetheless, despite a spirited fight the Portuguese beat the Venetian force conclusively, sinking four ships and sending the remaining ones for a speedy retreat. The victorious armada continues north towards Portuguese Zanzibar, where it will stop for repairs and rest before the supposed difficult push towards India.

    Mid October: With the revolt of the Comuneros spreading so quickly and effectively, rumours begin to surface of Portuguese involvement and funding of the anti-royal uprising. These whispers soon reach the court of the Emperor, who himself made his sister Eleanor wed Manuel of Portugal for the very purpose of avoiding the possibility of Portuguese assistance for any rebellion in Castile. Some of the more excitable members of Charles’ court begin jumping to conclusions, blaming Portugal’s alleged involvement on its desire for better conditions in the Tordesillas agreement, the specifics of which are still being hotly debated by the two powers.

    Late October: Venetian envoy Bartolomeo Contarini returns to Venice after meeting with Suleiman with the Venetian Bailo in Istanbul to continue the friendship of the two increasingly intertwined nations. In his journal he provides a descrition of the Sultan.

    Estratto da el giornałe de Bartolomeo Contarini; Ottobre, 1520: “He is twenty-six years of age, tall, but wiry, and of a delicate complexion. His neck is a little too long, his face thin, and his nose aquiline. He has a shade of a moustache and a small beard; nevertheless he has a pleasant mien, though his skin tends to be a light pallor. He is said to be a wise Lord, fond of study, and all men hope for good from his rule."

    Mid November: Charles accepts that a military conclusion will soon be necessary to quell the revolts in his Spanish lands. He devotes his efforts to recruiting and training soldiers, as well as raising funds, as the royal government has lost much of its revenue to the revolt. He begins to ask conservative Castilian bankers for funds, and, though weary of rumours that they are helping the Comuneros, he directs his officials to seek loans from Portugal as well. This, he decides, is an effective way to get to the bottom of where Manuel’s loyalties are.

    Late November: The remaining Venetian ships from the battle with the Portuguese Armada off Africa reach Massaua. They alert Maranazzo of the large threat, to which he commands a fleet of adequate size to depart from the port of Tagiura. The fleet will comprise mostly of the heavier tonnage carracks, as the survivors from the battle recount that those were the most effective against the Portuguese.

    Early December: With great regret, Portugal declines the Spanish request for loans, citing war in the Indian Ocean as taking up the entirety of the Portuguese coffers. Charles, while still not necessarily believing the whispers in his court, is unsettled that the Portuguese economic engine finds itself unable to aid him at all.

    Mid December: The Venetian flotilla bound for Southeast Asia lands in what their Ottoman counterparts refer to as Bintan. It will serve as the friendly military base in the region.

    The voyage to Bintan has been quite fruitful in that the Venetian Commander-General of the force has been exposed to much of the region’s local politics by his Ottoman peers. It is shared that Bintan is a new creation of the Sultan of Malacca, since having been uprooted from his great capital by the Portuguese. Since then, the Muslim Sultans of the region have banded together in the attempt to recapture Malacca from the Portuguese, to no avail. This news was already affirming to the Venetian Commander-General for new allies in the region. However, it was what was further revealed to him on the voyage that was truly of interest.

    The Malacca Sultanate was a tributary state and ally to the Ming Dynasty in China. In conquering the state, the Chinese have responded aggressively with force against the Portuguese. The Commander-General, afflicted with the Oriental bug himself (his family being well-to-do merchants) immediately declared that upon their arrival to Bintan the flotilla would send a diplomatic envoy to the Ming Emperor of China in order to recruit the Chinese as allies.

    Now arrived at Bintan, the diplomatic mission departs with the intent of procuring China as an ally of the Venetian cause. Of course, the mission is also instructed to lay the foundations of an economic relation between the great oriental nation and St. Mark’s Republic. Two ships of the Sultan of Malacca lead the diplomatic fleet on their way to China, so as not to warrant attack by the hostile Chinese, mistaking the Venetian ships for those of their Portuguese brothers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  10. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

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    Yes! Yes! YES!!! You’ve written in Malacca in all of this! :D Things are going to heat up fast around the region now, though I wonder that will the Venetians think when the Emperor and his aides call them all “barbarians”, while treating the Malaccans instead with mutual respect and friendship.

    And speaking of friendship, I would like Charles to have a little faith in the Portuguese for the near future, but I have a feeling the Spanish court would make things a lot muddier for both nations. :p

    Besides this, I wonder what's going on in Aceh and the Spice Islands. Malacca would most definitely fall in the near term, and the allied fleet will wreck hell in Timor, but other than that it's all a wildcard! Regardless, amazing update.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  11. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Finally catch the last updates, bravo! Quite perplexed over the presence of Polish emigrates in Alexandria at the time, honestly I was thinking more of an English presence in the city, or maybe of Tuscans. Naturally, no Genoese at all, maybe some Lombard...

    Also, I liked the TTL end of Leonardo, really realistic. OTL was already dubtious over his projects, figures if they will be translated to reality...

    Venetians in China is purely awesome. We are going to see Venetian Macao or Hong Kong? Or another concession?

    And now, Venice could use coffee as weapon of mass distraction against the Italians. When the Serenissima obtains also tobacco in the New World, Italy will fall entirely to her kneels, bwawawah :D
     
  12. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    Bloody hell. China with a friendly European relationship this early! That would really blow matters out the water.
     
  13. Unknown Member

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    This looks great (especially the apparent Venetian meeting with China).

    Maybe Venice is going to unite Italy in the future...

    Keep it coming!!!
     
  14. Herzen's love-child rootless cosmopolitan

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    Viva San Marco! :cool:
     
  15. Franciscus Caesar Caesar of Greater Toronto

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    You'll find this out very soon.

    Thanks! As I said, you won't have to wait too long for some of these to be addressed. Now that Venice is in Southeast Asia, regardless of the outcome with the Portuguese there will be further Venetian contact with the region. Just how much/long term any of it will be depends highly on the outcome, though.

    Grazie! Good to have you back.

    I'm curious, what made you think that? The only reason for the Slavic arrivals was the remnants of the massive Ptolmeic building effort. They didn't really have a choice in their arrival to Egypt in the first place.

    Thanks. Yes, it's a side of him I believe was already there OTL, so the charms (if, in this case, we can still call them charms) of Venice seemed to be the perfect way to encourage it.

    I think so too. Well the China issue is something that will require Venetian finesse. The Portuguese haven't exactly helped pave the way for good relations between the two (in a way...).

    LOL. Definitely the right way to unification :p

    Agreed, if only it wasn't the case of a near hostile China. Things will get very interesting very shortly.

    Thanks. Ah, I know Venetian unification of Italy if possible has been on the minds of all readers since the TL's inception. Any addressing of this will be done after the war with the Portuguese, as proponents to San Marco's domination of the peninsula bringing such beliefs up now wouldn't help the feelings of Venetian jingoism in Europe.
     
  16. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Uhm, because I don't think the Poles of the time will be so willingly to make a long voyage to Poland from Alexandria for job opportunities, plus realizing a project of the Turk heathens and the Venetian traitors of the Catholic faith. Plus the change of climate could have determined illness and some deaths in their ranks.

    However, Poland at the time was involved in a series of war with Moscow for Lithuania, plus Sigismund I enforced the serfdom laws, so maybe those Poles could have emigrated in Hungary or South Podolia to escape from those troubles, and here enter in contact with the Turks in search of manpower?

    I guess anyway the Ottomans instead to search Poles, which surely they weren't in good relations because of their ties with Crimea, could have employed instead people from the Balkans, Greeks especially.
     
  17. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    IIRC the Poles were included among the slaves brought down from Crimea.
     
  18. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, what Alex said; the Crimean Khanate went on a raiding spree in the Commonwealth (well, soon-to-be Commonwealth) and Russia, capturing everyone that could be useful to be sold to the Ottomans. If I can recall, the Russians and the Poles are not getting happy with this at all, so there might be some events happening over there down the line.

    Also, Franciscus, will the printing press be disseminated by the Venetians to the other Indian Ocean kingdoms?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  19. Irene Professional Cactus

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    Ahh quite unlikely, Venice itself was a major center for printing at the time and it was quite peculiar about maintaining its income to the point of risking the wrath of the Papacy with the printing of banned books. In addition it required metal and gold crafting skills that were difficult to find outside of Italy at the time. In the case of the Indians they would be missing the metallurgical skills required for fine machinery.

    Wait... Indian spies and assassins in Venice, ohhhhhh that sounds delightful.

    IRC the two main types of books sold were bibles and technical books. The printing of bibles was heavily regulated least someone starts distributing heretical bibles, plus with a massive demand it was practically a license to print money. The second type of books sold were technical books, as we approach the mining boom in S.Germany around 1520s-40s there were plenty of entrepreneur nobles and merchants willing to pay princely sums for the technical knowledge to build their own mines and smelters. So while you probably won't see printing presses brought to the Indians you can certainly expect the Venetians to either sell printed Indian material or sell bibles and technical books to them.

    Of course inevitably there will be some printer who starts selling off Qurans and Hindu scriptures and all the controversies related to that. Thou the Venetians might spin it off as selling religious texts to heretics of the heathens.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  20. JamesG Not James G Donor

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    All caught up! Fantastic stuff Franciscus. I'll go back to quietly lurking, but rest assured I'll be keeping the view count ticking over!